Photo: Former President Obasanjo.
Judgments: Obasanjo slams judiciary, says “cathedral rulings” unacceptable
Former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, has taken a swipe at the recent controversial and conflicting judgments delivered by some judges in the country on electoral disputes.
The former President stated this at a high-level consultation conference on: “Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy in Africa,” held at Green Resort Legacy, Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
Obasanjo faulted what he labelled as “cathedral pronouncements” by the judges, stressing that three to five judges should not reverse the choices made by millions of voters during an election.
According to him, the authority held by a small number of judges is “totally unacceptable.”
Obasanjo said: “I believe that 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.”
The former president criticized the ongoing judgments of the Court of Appeal on the electoral disputes resulting from Nigeria’s 2023 elections, wherein three governors were dismissed just last week in separate rulings.
It would be recalled that opposition PDP governors Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau, Abba Yusuf of Kano, and Dauda Lawal of Zamfara State were controversially sacked by the Appeal Court.
The curious judgments have triggered reactions, earning the judiciary more knocks than kudos, with many pointing accusing fingers at alleged underhand efforts of the ruling APC amid allegations of judicial compromise.