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The bashing of the judiciary

The bashing of the judiciary
December 01
14:51 2023

The judiciary has been in the eye of the storm for some weeks now. The judiciary has been praised and bashed depending on the side you are on.

For people that lost the election, the judiciary is the worst thing to ever happen to Nigeria, while to those that won elections, the judiciary is the last hope of the common man. Typical of Nigerian politicians. So when I see our politicians bashing the judiciary, I usually don’t take them seriously.

No doubt, I don’t think since independence the Nigerian judiciary has been in so much spotlight and the bashing was at an all-time high. Just like we witnessed the highest level of toxicity ever in the presidential election. The aftermath of the election was the same.

Billboards with the inscriptions “All Eyes on the Judiciary” were erected in some places, and even social media hashtags – “All Eyes on the Judiciary” was trending.

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Also, after the supreme court judgments on the presidential election and appeal court judgment on the gubernatorial election elicited some reactions and criticism.

In his reaction to the bashing of the judiciary, the attorney-general of the federation (AGF) and minister of justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), has cautioned politicians that lost out at the election petition tribunals to stop disparaging the image of the nation’s judiciary.

Describing allegations making the rounds against the country’s judiciary as cheap blackmail, Fagbemi cautioned the concerned politicians against throwing caution to the wind.

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Is the judiciary perfect? Of course not. No institution is perfect in Nigeria. The judges are Nigerians and are not immune to what is happening in Nigeria, but I don’t buy the idea of the bashing of our judiciary. The thing is, most of the politicians castigating the judiciary would not have done so if they had won at the courts. It’s just a matter of sour grapes.

Also, destroying our systems and institutions because our candidate lost at the judiciary is not healthy for our democracy. This should stop.

To get this straight, I also do not like the idea of the judiciary determining winners of elections. The practice where three to six judges determine the winner of elections is not democracy. Winners of elections should be determined on the field and by the people. The majority should elect our leaders at all levels. That is how it should be. It’s just common sense.

But we keep having the judiciary determining the winners of elections in Nigeria because our politicians don’t play by the rules.

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Even before the elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission had said it was faced with more than 1,000 pre-election litigations in the build-up to the 2023 general election.

If our politicians play by the rules, there will be fewer litigations. No matter how noble the intentions of INEC, our politicians are not ready to play by the rules. The “win at all cost” mentality of our politicians is the bane of our democracy.

So for us to have free elections, we need the buy-in of our politicians and INEC. Also, our electoral commission should also stick to the rules no matter the intimidation by our politicians. Elections should be canceled in areas where there is violence and vote buying. Playing by the rules will go a long way in strengthening our democracy.

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Views expressed by contributors are strictly personal and not of TheCable.

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