Justice ⚖️

Petitions in General Election Make Judiciary A Busiest Sector

Written by Admin

By: ABBA BASHIR

With over 1,000 petitions reportedly lodged in various tribunals by aggrieved candidates in the general election held this year, the nation’s judiciary was certainly in the glare of all Nigerians and indeed the whole world.

These petitions as observed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, had made the judiciary the busiest sector in the country given the intense disagreements that the elections had generated.

Political attention also shifted to the courts as aggrieved candidates and political parties that contested in the country’s 2023 general election approached the courts to challenge the outcome of the polls and to seek legal remedies.

Judiciary Correspondent, Ifeoma Nwovu chronicles the summary of major events that occurred in the nation’s judiciary in 2023.

The Nigerian Bar and Bench had quite a challenging year in the year under review, no thanks to the pre-election matters and election petitions that arose from the 2023 general election.

Aggrieved Candidates who contested the presidential and National Assembly elections in February 25; governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections in March 18, 2023; in the different political parties, filed the petitions for varying reasons, drafting the declared winners and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as defenders.

The Federal government had last year, introduced newly redesigned 200, N500, and N1,000 notes with tight deadline to mop up the old notes from circulation.

On the 16th of February this year, former President Muhammadu Buhari made an order that only the old N200 notes should remain legal tender.

However, on the 3rd of March, this year, the Supreme Court ordered that the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes should remain in circulation untill December 31, this year.

The apex court also nullified the Federal Government’s naira redesign policy, declaring it as an affront to the 1999 Constitution.

In August this year, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele and 2 others, were arraigned before the Court of the Federal Capital Territory on a 20- count charge bordering on alleged breach of procurement laws.

On October 4, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola inaugurated 23 new judges of the Federal High Court

Justice Ariwoola charged the judges to always apply constitutional provisions in deciding each case assigned to them.

On October 11, over 1,000 candidates who passed the Bar final examination were called to the Nigerian Bar by the Body of Benchers.

Addressing the new lawyers, the Chairman Body of Benchers and retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Mary Odili, urged them to adhere strictly to the stipulated rules at all times, while embracing professional conduct.

Also, the Supreme Court on the 26th of October, upheld President Bola Tinubu’s election victory, bringing to an end a legal challenge brought by his two main rivals, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party and Mr. Peter Obi of the Labour Party, who argued that his victory was marred by irregularities.

To mark the commencement of the 2022/2023 Legal year of the Supreme Court on the 27th of November, 58 Senior Advocates of Nigeria were sworn-in by the CJN.

Justice Ariwoola urged them to do everything possible to prioritize the rule of law and the independence of Judiciary.

On December 15, the Supreme Court ordered the continuation of the trial of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the acclaimed leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) on terrorism charges.

The Apex court, in the lead judgement prepared by Justice Tijjani Abubakar, ruled that there is no Nigerian law that prohibits the use of illegally obtained evidence for the trial of a defendant.

Reacting to the judgment, lead Counsel for the defendant, Chief Kanu Agabi said he would accept the verdict of the apex court.

Also reacting, an elder statesman, Chief Dan Ulasi described the judgment as unfair.

As 2023 draws to an end, all governorship election petitions that had been heard and determined by the court of appeal, have been filed before the apex court for Final redress.

Experts are of the hope that all election petitions will be laid to rest in 2024 to give room for judges to attend to other pending litigations that have suffered setbacks.

They also urged all legal stakeholders to work towards ensuring a better Judicial system in the country.

 

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