By Zik Gbemre

I still cannot help but wonder, and ask if the Nigerian Supreme Court Judges actually keep records and research on their past judgments on election matters and high-profile corruption matters in this country, as precedence, before delivering current judgments?

Or are there judgments written by politicians’ lawyers for them to deliver in their favour, in exchange for money? For instance, the recent Imo and Bayelsa states governorship election judgments are shameful to the nation’s judiciary.

I will like to share reactions from a Lagos-based group on the Supreme Court judgment.

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In a well circulated opinion written up by one Gabriel Ojo, he spoke my mind on the zigzag verdicts and judgment of the Nigeria Supreme Court, and how they have goofed in the Bayelsa state judgments and others before it.

Ojo wrote:
“In Rivers, the Supreme Court told us that votes go to party and not the candidate. Thus, rather than allow the runner up to be sworn-in, the apex court allowed another aspirant, Rotimi Amaechi, to inherit vote of his party by simply substituting the candidate that participated in the election.

“In Kogi, they told us it’s not joint ticket; that deputy (Faleke) can’t inherit vote of his principal, Audu. But they still insisted votes go to party and not an individual. The process allowed the party to put forward another candidate, Yahaya Bello”.

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Then came the case of Zamfara. “In Zamfara, since the Supreme Court had said votes go to party and not the candidate. Maybe it should have asked the party to organize another primaries to produce candidates since the same court had earlier posited that votes goes to party and not individual. But no, the party lost their votes.”

“In Imo, the votes garnered by the candidates is far more than the total votes cast. Yet, Supreme Court declared a winner. Don’t forget similar scenario played out in Rivers where the same apex court posited that there was nothing wrong in votes cast, which was larger than accredited votes. The court said accreditation by smart device (Smart Card Reader) is not known to our law. Thus, Wike is the winner.”

“Now in Bayelsa, the same Supreme Court is telling us it is joint ticket. That whatever happens to either of the two individual would definitely affect the other. Wait, would the governor be impeached having been sworn-in, if his deputy was discovered to have presented fake papers? Yes or No?

“In all, the entire fault is not on the Supreme Court. The political parties/politicians should be ashamed of themselves. How can a party lack internal mechanism to screen her candidates? Why can’t a party organize hitch free primaries? Why stopped parties from abiding by their own law? Shameful!”

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“Our legislators must brace up to deepening our democracy by coming up with a comprehensive law rather than rely on Supreme Court trial and error practice”, Ojo concluded.

What does it cost INEC and all the States Independent Electoral Commissions to conduct proper screening of candidates for any election in this nation of ours? In all honesty and in tandem with what the late Afro musician, Fela Anikulapo Kuti said, “what we practise in this country is ‘demonstration of craze’ and not democracy. May God help our nation!”

Truth is, the Supreme Court’s haphazard, jaundiced and inconsistent judgments are without judicial precedence. The nation’s is no longer a reliable conscience of society?

Court judgments should actually cement relationships, rather than create deep crises and chaos in the country. What kind of judges do we have in the country? Though, there are few honest judges with conscience in the country, but one bad egg could spoil the rest eggs, if care is not taken. The majority of Nigerian judges are a disgrace to the nation’s judiciary. Just in 2019, a known judge in Delta state falsified his age to elongate his service, and he was sacked by the Nigerian judicial commission after some petitions were raised. And again, there is a similar allegation of a very senior judge in Delta state that has altered his age three times for tenure elongation, and the matter is still pending with the ICPC in Benin, and in the industrial court.

How do you expect judges of this kind to deliver honest judgments, when they are the same people involved in forgery? If they know they forged documents, then why are they still in service? Nobody places a gun on their heads to be appointed or elected in the first place. The love for cash inducements has blinded many Nigerians in public offices. The politicians, the elites, the judges and even the masses are to be blamed for allowing our Nigerian society to decay to this extent.