Nigeria’s Judiciary Is About To FAIL Her Again

By Ikenga Chronicles May 18, 2019

Nigeria’s Judiciary Is About To FAIL Her Again

— Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba,

Democracy is functional and useful only when all the three branches, Executive, Legislative and Judiciary are alive and functioning. Especially the judiciary.Coup d’état, anarchy, riots, chaos’s, etc. are results of a failed judicial system. Citizens and residents prefer to settle their differences peacefully via the judicial decisions where the decisions are made in accordance with the constitution.It is now over two months since the Nigerian presidential elections were over and the results announced, and the candidate of Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) filed petitions challenged the announced results and claiming victory. But the Nigerian judiciary has failed to make the final decision on who actually is the president elect. In about a month from now the constitution demands that the president elect should be sworn in.

Who would be sworn in, on May 29th, the incumbent president Muhammadu Buhari or his challenger former Vice President Atiku Mohammed?

The nation does not know. There is something called fast tracking of a case in law. Under this law the court advises the plaintiff and the defendant on trial dates or confirming the dates already fixed and giving directions on document presentations, etc. The usual reason for fast tracking is that “time is of the essence.”

There is no question that in this matter time is really of the essence. The preparation for inauguration requires the president elect to choose and interview his cabinet; for the security services to investigate the chosen few; for the senate to vet and approve qualified candidates; etc. But if the courts and not moving fast these processes would be delayed or even done twice at a huge cost to the nation.The matter of inauguration could present the nation with two presidents at once. It is clear that PMB is preparing as if he has no case to answer. It is possible to Mr. Atiku Mohammed may be preparing his own swearing in ceremony. The beginning of crisis is when the country has two competing presidents and ipso facto two commanders-in-chief.

The loyalty of the security forces would be tested and the rivalry could result in forcible overthrow of government. The courts are charged with preventing this by rendering a fast judgement on who won the 2019 elections. Nigeria cannot be handed a fait accompli, a thing that has already happened or been decided before those affected hear about it, leaving them with no option but to accept it.

It does not bode well for our democracy. Our Supreme Court is the servant of the people and needs to wake up to its duties or fail Nigeria again as it did in Obiechina VS Chime in Enugu or as it did in 1964 in Awolowo VS FGN or as it did as recently as 2019 in the deposing of the Chief Justice of Nigeria. Justice delayed is justice denied.

Our judicial system is our fortress. Break into it and we are defeated.

  • Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba writes from Boston, Massachusetts.
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