Victor Giwa, a legal expert, had an intriguing viewpoint in a recent interview on the issue of whether the Presidential Elections Tribunal will be able to wrap up all court cases by the inauguration ceremony on May 29. Although it's a common misconception that the judges can't finish the case before the inauguration, Giwa claimed that the Constitution really allows them to hasten the process provided two requirements are met.
Giwa explained that the Tribunal could issue a ruling as soon as three days if there is a strong political will on the part of the five-judge panel and substantial evidence from the parties during his appearance on Africa Independent Television's "Kaakaki" programme.
Giwa cited Section 132(8) of the Electoral Act, which mandates a 180-day deadline for the completion of all judicial processes including election petitions. However, because the act contains the word "Within" rather than "At," the judgement may be rendered at any moment "within" those 180 days rather than merely "at" the conclusion of the six-month period.
Giwa said that if the judges have the political will and the material evidence is reliable, the election proceedings can be expedited. He emphasised that this is still legal and that it is therefore feasible to provide a ruling prior to the inauguration.
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