The recent courage displayed by the Supreme Court in some verdicts it delivered on some previous worrisome appeal court rulings over electoral matters, has again rekindled our hope in the judicial system of the country. A vast majority of Nigerians across political divide have hailed for instance, judgements delivered by the court which upheld elections of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Emmanuel Udom, Okey Ikpeazu of Abia as well as the case of the Senate President, wherein the Apex court asked him to return and face trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT. For the election cases, it would be recalled that their outcomes at the Appeal Court had been controversial and was almost brining the judiciary to public opprobrium, to say the least.
Reacting to the Supreme Court verdicts, which upheld the victory of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP governors, the national coordinator of the PDP forum, Osaro Onaiwu, described the Supreme Court as the ‘saviour of democracy’. He said the rulings have also reinforced the belief that the judiciary remains the hope of the common man.
Again on Friday, February 5, 2016, the Supreme Court ruled that the Senate President, Bukola Saraki should return to the CCT to face trial, it is a welcomed and unbiased pronouncement. On the Saraki issue, it is on record that the facts of the substantial matter are not before the Supreme Court since the apex court was only invited to rule on some preliminary issues in the process of commencing the trial.
But no matter its verdicts over Bukola Saraki or/and the election cases, the Supreme Court has no doubt demonstrated courage. We see the bravery in many instances, one being the current charged political environment where there are alleged plots to do-in judges in order to cow them and make them do the bidding of government and the ruling party. Secondly is the perceived impunity by government against the judiciary where court judgements are not obeyed or carried out. These affronts against this sacred arm of government, though underhand and mean, are worrisome and condemnable. We salute their guts as they have proved their resoluteness in discharging their sacred mission in their latest rulings.
While Nigerians are aware of pressures on the judicial officers, to the highest echelon, as the Chief Justice of Nigerian, CJN, Justice Mahmoud Mohammed, raised alarm over the worrisome Court of Appeal judgments, his outburst at that time was in order. His fears were clear to the point that the judiciary was turning a new thing with questionable appeal courts judgements and warned that that arm must remain the sacred temple of justice and hope of every Nigerian. And they have exemplified that through the recent rulings.
According to the CJN, who spoke at the annual conference of the Court of Appeal held in Abuja not too long ago, the justices, he warned, must quit delivering conflicting judgments in order to save the nation’s democracy as some rulings then delivered in some appeal courts division appear to make a mockery of the judiciary arm of government. He said, “The development was not only capable of eroding public confidence on the judiciary but could cast serious aspersions on its integrity, adding, “We must not ignore the negative perception that is occasioned by conflicting judgments delivered at various divisions of the Court of Appeal.”
Nigerians were and are still on the same page with the Chief Justice and eminent jurists at that level of our courts. Their courage at this time of sheer impunity perpetrated by some government agencies and ministries will be further strengthened by the mere will of God and expectation of the people that the judiciary arm, especially the Supreme Court is still the hope of the common man and saviour of democracy.
We hail the CJN, the Supreme Court, the judiciary, and state unequivocally that whichever angle the actions of the apex court is viewed, the court has not only exhibited its supreme position, but also reiterated the hallowed principles of separation of powers, where every arm of government is independent of the other.
We are in support of the CJN’s position and hope these eminent jurists at that level of the bench will continue to do the needful, only those things sacrosanct to the sacredness of the justice temple by looking sternly at areas where the Appeal Court erred in judgment and right the wrongs. This is what Nigerians expect to see the apex court of the land do all the time and this is the only way the CJN can walk his talk as the number one judicial officer of the land. The Supreme apex court must do its task of delivering impartial and absolute judgements to all, whether rich, poor, government or individual, so well done Supreme Court!