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Obasanjo: Three Judges Shouldn’t Upturn Millions Of Voters, Rejects Sack Of  Governors

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has criticized the verdicts of Nigerian judges on electoral disputes, saying that three to five judges should not overturn decisions made by millions of voters during an election.

“The judiciary is the last hope of the common man, but when the judiciary is seen to be aiding and abetting electoral fraud, then the common man is left with no hope,” Obasanjo said in a statement. “It is unacceptable that three to five judges can overturn the decisions of millions of voters.”

Obasanjo’s comments come after a series of controversial rulings by Nigerian judges in recent months. In one case, a court overturned the results of a governorship election in Ekiti State, which had been won by the opposition candidate. In another case, a court ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a rerun of a senatorial election in Imo State, which had been won by the ruling party candidate.

Obasanjo’s comments have been met with mixed reactions. Some have praised him for speaking out against judicial corruption, while others have accused him of trying to undermine the judiciary.

However, Obasanjo’s comments have highlighted the growing concerns about the impartiality of the Nigerian judiciary. In recent years, there have been several cases in which judges have been accused of taking bribes or ruling in favor of political allies.

The Nigerian judiciary is seen as one of the last bastions of democracy in the country. However, if the judiciary is seen to be corrupt, then it will be difficult to maintain public faith in the democratic process.

Obasanjo described the powers vested in the hands of a few judges as “totally unacceptable.”

The former President spoke in the wake of the ongoing judgements of the Court of Appeal on the electoral disputes arising from the 2023 elections in Nigeria.

Only last week, three governors were sacked in separate judgements delivered by the judges of the Court of Appeal.

The affected governors are Dauda Lawal of Zamfara State, Abba Kabir Yusuf in Kano, and Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State.

The decisions have triggered reactions, earning the judiciary more knocks than kudos.

Speaking at the high-level consultation on Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy in Africa held at Green Resort Legacy, Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Obasanjo faulted what he labelled “cathedral pronouncements” by the judges.

Obasanjo said, “I believe whatever form of democracy we have or whatever system of government we have, three or four men in the judiciary should not be able to overturn the decisions of millions that have voted. Now, we have to find a way to handle that. I don’t know what the way will be but, for me, I think it’s totally unacceptable that millions (of votes), maybe 10m on one side, maybe 9million on the other side. Then, you have five people sitting down, three of them agree, two disagree. And you come up and make cathedral pronouncements that cannot be changed, I believe that should not be accepted.

“How do we do it? I don’t know. But whatever form of democracy we have, we should look at how to handle this. If you say ‘go again for election,’ then, what happened to the previous election? I don’t know.

“So, I personally feel strongly about. It does not matter what you say about the judiciary, but in fact only five people or seven will sit down. If they are five, three may agree, two may not agree, and the decision of three will be final. All that you have done comes to the decision of three or decision of four.”

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