…Say Waning Confidence In Judiciary, Invitation To Anarchy
The Elders’ Forum of the Lagos State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has said that the Nigerian judiciary has lost its credibility.
Speaking on Monday after its meeting in Lagos, the Lagos PDP Elders Forum insisted that this is not the best of times for the judiciary in the country.
Addressing journalists after their meeting in Ikoyi – Lagos, former Deputy National Chairman, South, Chief Olabode George, on behalf of about 33 other PDP leaders, including former deputy governor of Lagos State, Senator Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele and Chief Mrs Onikepo Oshodi, said that “Nigerians no longer trust the Third Estate of the Realm.”
George said that what is oozing out from the third arm of government in the world’s most populous black nation is offensive to millions of Nigerians, insisting that when the judiciary is compromised, one way or the other, in a democratic system, then democracy is gone and anarchy looms.
He said that many Nigerians believe that members of the executive and legislature are already living in a different planet, adding that they see the judiciary as the last ‘estate’ standing in the ‘realm.’
George said, “In Nigeria, there are hundreds of judges upholding the sanctity of the judiciary. They not only give judgments but they deliver justice. Nigerians still believe in them.
“But, because of conflicting and contradictory judgments coming from a few, the belief of many Nigerians in the judiciary is understandably shaken. And this is worrisome, because if the people don’t believe in the third arm of government anymore, anarchy looms.
“Today, many Nigerians point to some corrupt judges, who escape unscathed to enjoy their ill-gotten wealth because the system is weak or compromised to do proper investigation.
“We now have a situation where courageous judges who refuse to do the biddings of the ‘powers that be’ are accused of being corrupt and forced to resign. What an irony!
“In many political cases, millions of people believe, and rightly so, that some judges deliver judgements, not justice.
“The judiciary, recently, and to the embarrassment of millions of Nigerians, has not lived above board. There are many conflicting judgements from courts of coordinate jurisdiction that Nigerians begin to wonder.
“So, the questions being asked today are, among others: ‘What exactly is the problem of the judiciary? Where did we get it wrong? Why is it difficult for the judiciary to assert its control over politicians and political parties? Why are technicalities being used to affirm electoral heists and in the process, undermine the will of the people and silence them? What is the meaning of a ‘typographical error,’ when a judgement had already been delivered? Is it, according to some Nigerians, that the ‘real’ judgement was pushed aside and another read, which has now led to a ‘typographical error’?
“In justice delivery and matter of life and death, judges are next to God. That is why anything that comes from the court is final, especially from the apex court in the land – the Supreme Court. There is nowhere to go again after the Supreme Court says ‘Yes or No’ on a matter before it. It is the final bus stop.”
The Atona Oodua insisted that any pronouncement from the courts must be infallible, adding that questioning the judgement of a particular court, is an indication that there is crisis in the polity.
He continued, “And this is totally unacceptable in Nigeria of 2023. What do we have in the country today? Some courts constantly come to the rescue of selected political elite, either in political or criminal cases.
“Embarrassingly, there are now incessant conflicting ex-parte orders from courts of coordinate jurisdiction.
“Many Nigerians see this as a cankerworm affecting the judiciary. Stories of millions of dollars now fly around, especially in political cases!
“Obviously, the unholy alliances between some politicians and judges is dangerous to our democracy.
“Millions of people will come out on the day of election, queue, collect ballot papers, cast their votes for their preferred candidates, results will be announced and everybody will jubilate only for three, five or seven judges to upturn the popular will of the people. What an affront?
“Pitiably, we now have a situation where politicians who did not participate in party primaries are affirmed by the judiciary as the candidates because of ‘technicalities.’
“That is why Nigerians strongly believe that some members of the executive suppress and intimidate judges, just to get favourable judgements.”
The former military governor of old Ondo State further averred that electoral verdict should be the sole responsibility of the electorate, lamenting that this has now been turned upside down.
He said what now obtains is “government of the judiciary, by the judiciary, for the judiciary.”
He enthused, “Democracy should be about the people exercising their fundamental human rights, not being goaded, as we are presently witnessing. Now, judges select who should be members of the House of Representatives, senators, governors and even the President. What kind of electoral system are we running that all vices, electoral crimes, defects and manipulations cannot be checked before the general elections?”
The PDP Elders’ Forum insisted that it believed that the best the judiciary must do in political cases is to adjudicate and where there are discrepancies, order for a rerun without giving victory to party A or B.
It said, “In our opinion, it is wrong to remove the power of the electorate to elect political leaders and for the judiciary to tell us who the winners are.
“This is not good for the polity. This is not good for Nigeria. This is not good for our electoral system. A compromised judiciary is dangerous.
“Something urgent must be done to stop this malady.”
In attendance at the Lagos PDP Elders’ Forum meeting and the subsequent press briefing were: Dr Akintoye, Elder Agbaje, Alhaji Mutas, Dr Adeniji, Dr Ogunbambi, Rev. Dansu, Chief Fakunle, Chief Oladeinde, Evang. Israel Ogunrinde, Dr Amos Fawole, Evang.( Mrs) Akinola, Alhaji Seriki Tulasi, Otunba Fakunmoju, Dr Seye O’Dairo, Hon Abiola Ismail, Alhaja Olokodana, Alhaji Alashe, Mr Agbolarin Adegboyega, Alhaja Nimota, Hon Akeem Salau, Adeniyi Olabiran and Alhaji Ajisefinni Fatai.
Other include: Hon Malomo Adelabi, Adegboyega Adegbesan,
Shodiya Isiaka, Otun Olayiwola, Olalekan Mufutau, Alhaji Shehu Olawepo, Wasiu Adeyemi, and Lanrewaju Oshin