Judges shouldn’t determine poll winners – Bode George

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A chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party, Olabode George, has described as unacceptable a situation where judges nullify elections and declare winners, as opposed to the popular choice of the electorate.

The PDP chieftain, who was reacting to the reported discrepancy in the certified true copy of the Court of Appeal judgment on the Kano State governorship election, said it was worrisome that the citizens could no longer trust the judiciary.

George, who spoke on behalf of the Lagos PDP Elders Council at a press conference in Lagos on Monday, described the Kano situation as a recipe for anarchy in the country.

At the press conference were former deputy governor of Lagos State, Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele, Mrs. Onikepo Oshodi, and other PDP chieftains.

George said, “This system is worrisome because if the people don’t believe in the third arm of government anymore, anarchy looms. We now have a situation in which courageous judges who refuse to do the bidding of the powers that be are accused of being corrupt and forced to resign.

“Obviously, the unholy alliances between some politicians and judges are dangerous to our democracy. Millions of people will come out on the day of the election, queue, collect ballot papers, and 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.

“The best the judiciary must do in political cases is to adjudicate, and where there are discrepancies, order a rerun without giving victory to party A or B. 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 Nigeria. This is not good for our electoral system. A compromised judiciary is dangerous.”

George said though there were upright judges, they were being overshadowed by the corrupt ones.

He said, “Today, what is oozing from the third arm of government in the world’s most populous black nation is offensive to millions of Nigerians. And when the judiciary is compromised, one way or another, in a democratic system, then democracy is gone.

“Many Nigerians believe that members of the executive and legislature are already living on a different planet, so, they see the judiciary as the last estate standing in the realm.

“In Nigeria, there are hundreds of judges upholding the sanctity of the judiciary. They not only give judgments, but they also 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.”