The Nigerian political landscape has been abuzz with controversy following the recent petition tribunal ruling in favour of Bola Ahmed Tinubu. As the dust settles and the nation watches closely, it becomes evident that the state of the Nigerian Judiciary holds significant implications for the nation’s democratic system. As major seekers of redress approach the apex court for one more fight, all eyes are fixated on the sanctity of law.
The tribunal’s decision to validate Tinubu’s victory has sparked a mixed array of emotions across the country. Supporters of the ruling party have welcomed it with open arms, hailing it as a victory for democracy. In contrast, those opposed to the decision have raised concerns over the perceived partiality of the Judiciary. Regardless of one’s stance, it is essential to acknowledge that the Judiciary plays a pivotal role in maintaining the checks and balances vital to a thriving democracy.
One crucial aspect of this scenario is the need to uphold the rule book. It is imperative that the legal processes and procedures be adhered to meticulously. The rule of law should be the guiding principle, ensuring that justice is served and the confidence of the public in the Judiciary remains unshaken. Transparency in the judicial process and a commitment to due process can help dissipate doubts surrounding the tribunal’s ruling.
As displeased parties seek redress in the Supreme Court, it is vital for them to follow established legal channels. This not only ensures a fair and unbiased review of the case but also strengthens the nation’s Judiciary and democratic foundations. A transparent and impartial Supreme Court proceeding will ultimately bolster faith in Nigeria’s democratic institutions.
As the country prepares for the second instalment of the post-election reality legal flick, we have another talking point that nicely fuels the growing relevance of the Judiciary. Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has called for the appointment of additional judges for the Supreme Court amid a fall in the number of Justices of the court in the last two years. The number of Justices has fallen from 20 that it was in November 2020 to 11 that it has been since mid-September, adding to the workload of already overworked remaining judges.
The association made the call in a statement hinged on Justice Amina Augie bowing after clocking the mandatory retirement age of 70. The imminent retirement of Mr Muhammad closely follows her retirement, currently the next most senior judge of the Supreme Court after the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), which will bring the number of Justices to 10 – the lowest in the recent history of the court. The apex body comprising lawyers in Nigeria demanded the appointments to achieve the full complement of 21 Justices of the Supreme Court, as prescribed by Section 230(1) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The NBA President noted that it has become imperative that the Nigerian constitution be amended to increase the threshold for the number of justices to be appointed to the Supreme Court and reduce the number of matters that get to the Supreme Court by limiting the jurisdiction of the court to certain constitutional matters,” said the statement released by Publicity Secretary, Akorede Lawal.
Maikyau, in his statement, commiserated with Chief Justice of Nigeria, Olukayode Ariwoola, justices, and staff of the Supreme Court over the fire incident at the complex on Monday. He said the incident, which affected the chambers of some justices, calls into question the integrity and safety of court infrastructure in Nigeria. This call, symptomatic of the blame game that never seems to end, emboldens the heightened distrust of many Nigerians towards the Judiciary. So much for a court on the verge of witnessing unarguably the biggest case in the history of the highest court in Nigeria. That said, all hope is not lost. One cannot declare loss even before entering the ring, so it behoves Nigerians to stretch their elasticity of optimism, and the Judiciary see this as an opportunity to redeem their image as the truest hope of the common man.
Furthermore, this moment highlights the importance of an independent Judiciary. The Judiciary should remain impervious to political pressures and external influences. Judges must base their decisions solely on the merits of the case and the interpretation of the law. The public’s trust in the Judiciary depends on its perceived independence and integrity.
In conclusion, the recent petition tribunal ruling in favour of Bola Ahmed Tinubu has placed the spotlight firmly on the Nigerian Judiciary. The state of the Judiciary is integral to the nation’s democratic health. As the matter is taken to the Supreme Court for redress, all parties involved must adhere to the rule book, maintain the principles of due process, and uphold the independence of the Judiciary. Only by doing so can Nigeria continue its journey towards a robust and enduring democracy.