Judges have been warned by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, to decide all cases bordering on the forthcoming general elections on merit without keeping any external influence.
A Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice John Okoro, read the CJN’s prepared speech in Abuja at the opening ceremony of the 34th Annual Judges’ Conference of the Federal High Court which held in Abuja on Tuesday.
Speaking at the event, the CJN said with the 2019 general elections approaching, the courts would be flooded with election-related cases.
He noted that while it was the responsibility of the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct elections, it was the duty of the judiciary to resolve the issues arising from the polls.
Justice Onnoghen urged the judges to shun corruption in the discharge of their responsibilities and to ensure that their decisions were based on merit devoid of external influence while handling political cases.
He said, “My brother judges, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, we are all aware of the increase in the tempo of political activities as we approach an election year.
“Our renascent democracy has to be nurtured, consolidated and developed.
“We are working assiduously to ensure that we clean our house, and completely dump the unfortunate toga of corruption that had plagued the judiciary for some time.
“With your cooperation and commitment, we shall once again steer this nation to the path of transparency and good governance.
“I urge you to shun corruption in all its ramifications and encourage the sustainability of your determined effort to promote transparency and good governance in our body polity.
“I am confident that your efforts in line with the rule of law will stamp out corruption and enthrone an enviable democracy characterised by justice, equity, transparency and good governance.
“My Lords, as the election year draws closer, your courts will be flooded with applications bordering on pre- and post-election matters requiring adjudication.
“No doubt, election litigation is an inevitable part of the electoral process.
“While INEC has the responsibility to conduct and manage elections, the judiciary on its part is charged with the responsibility of resolving disputes arising from the process.
“We must, therefore, ensure that matters brought before our courts are determined on their merits, devoid of any external interference, to ensure the sustenance of the independence of the judiciary.”