The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, will on Monday, November 7 set in motion the legal fireworks for the 2023 election with the inauguration of over 300 members of the election petitions tribunal.
The Director of Information and Press of the Supreme Court, Festus Akande, disclosed this to journalists in Abuja on Saturday.
According to Akande, the event is slated for Andrews Obaseki Auditorium at the National Judicial Institute in Abuja.
He explained that Andrews Otutu Obaseki Auditorium of NJI was considered in view of the large number of the tribunal members being expected to grace the inauguration ceremony scheduled for 9:00 a.m.
He also explained why the inauguration would be coming so early.
Akande said: “What do you want me to say again? If there is a delay in swearing them in. You will ask why the delay. But it is done early now. You are asking questions again. What will one do to please the world?
“I believe you have not forgotten that they will undergo induction for some time before they commence sitting. Elections are taking place in February 2023, we are in November already.
“Do you want them to be inaugurated in February next year, the same month as the election? We have always been swearing them in a few months to elections and this one is not an exception.”
Over 400 Judges from States and Federal High Courts have been carefully nominated by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongbam-Mensem to serve on the panel.
Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem had bewailed the unavailability of funds to prosecute the 2023 General Election Petition Tribunals.
Dongban-Mensem, who spoke at the 2022/2023 legal year of the appellate court, warned that failure to release the funds on time could hamper the constitution of various tribunals and courts that will entertain disputes that will arise from the impending general election.
The president of the appellate court is statutorily empowered to constitute election petitions tribunals.
According to her, it is pertinent to state that adequate preparation requires adequate funding. The essential ingredient for the Tribunals to function effectively is the provision of the much needed funding to provide adequate facilities for the Tribunals across the nation.
“The funds to prosecute the 2023 General Election Petition Tribunals have still not been released. This is becoming worrisome as it may impede plans to constitute the various Tribunals and Courts.
“The process of training of Hon. Justices, Tribunal Judges and Registry staff is also on hold pending the release of funds. The existing Tribunals have taken up a whole chunk of the very limited resources of the court.
“We appeal to the relevant authorities to ensure that the funds for running of the Tribunals are released urgently,” the president of the appellate court said.
Despite the absence of funds, Justice Dongban-Mensem disclosed that in preparation for the general elections, she has received from various Heads of Courts across the federation, nominations of judicial officers that will serve in the Tribunals.
“Also, nominations of staff that will man the Registries of the Tribunals have been received from the various Divisions of the Court. The Election Judicial Proceedings Practice Directions, 2022, have been reviewed and signed. It will serve as a guide to all stakeholders in providing an improved and efficient electoral adjudicatory process.
“The usual dispute in each electoral circle had impelled the Court to review the Judicial Electoral Manual in order to bring it in line with the Electoral Act, 2022. A 13-man Judicial Electoral Manual Committee was inaugurated on May 18, 2022, to conduct this review.”