Judiciary Averted Another June 12 In 2015 – Immediate Past CJN | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Judiciary Averted Another June 12 In 2015 – Immediate Past CJN

CJN
Posted: Nov 11, 2016 at 4:05 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Tony Ezimakor

Abuja – Justice Mahmoud Mohammed, immediate past Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), on Thursday revealed how the judiciary under his leadership safeguarded the nation’s young democracy and halted what would have been a repeat of the June 12, 1993 election annulment in the run to the 2015 general election.

Speaking at a valedictory session held in his honour, Mohammed revealed that various courts, especially the Supreme Court, had before the 2015 general election came under intense pressure by external influence to truncate the process and subvert the wish of the people.

The legal luminary said these unholy acts came by way of various frivolous motions and court actions which were targeted at achieving parochial goals that were capable of throwing the country into chaos but which, he said, were resisted in the face of intimidations.

Justice Mohammed maintained that Nigeria owes the judiciary a debt of gratitude for its resolute stance and harped on the need to jealously guard the independence of the judiciary and rule law.

According to him, judicial officers were pressured to tilt the balance in the run to the elections but added that judiciary resisted and ensured a level playing field was guaranteed for all contestants.

“In fact, the Supreme Court during the 2015 general election disallowed so many frivolous cases that were aimed at truncating the electoral process”, he said, appealing to politicians to learn how to play by the rules of the game rather than subjecting the judiciary to unnecessary pressure and intimidation.

The former CJN said that the judiciary has overtime proved to be an institution, which must be protected, sustained and carefully handled than any other institution, warning that where the rule of law is absent and due process disregarded, the sentinel of civilisation will be missing which, he said, is not in the best interest of the country.

Justice Mohammed urged judges to pay special attention to their calling pointing out that competence in the performance of duties requires legal knowledge, skills, thoroughness and preparation.

He urged them to continue to improve on their performance and to be impartial, adding that impartiality is the fundamental quality a judge must display as it is a core currency of repute that engenders respect for the judiciary.

“Though various dynamics and court room antics may abound, but you as judges must remain as the resolute of justice. When you do that, the judiciary will be as a beacon of hope for the common man”.

Thompson Okpoko, who represented the body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), blamed the current problems in the judiciary on its inability to curb the misconduct in the profession at the early stage.

“We in the profession both the bar and the bench have kept a blind eye to our problems for far too long. We have looked on the other side when improprieties and disgraceful conducts were manifesting themselves right in front of us, we have been soft in matter that required stern handling.

“We have allowed rule to be twisted or bent because it will adversely affect our people.

“We have sacrificed merit on the altar of geographical spread when we know that no matter how much we spread we cannot cover everyone and everywhere. That kind of attitude must now give way to positive thinking as to what will be the best for our judicial system and the profession”, he said as he charged the incoming CJN to face the challenges with all seriousness to enable the judiciary regain its lost glory.

The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) was represented by the Solicitor General of the Federation, Taiwo Abidogun.