• Monday, June 24, 2024
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BusinessDay

Obasanjo queries judges’ power on polls annulment, rerun

Mambilla, Obasanjo and the scapegoat mentality

…says judges shouldn’t overturn decisions made by Nigerians

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday queried verdicts of Nigerian judges on the electoral disputes among the politicians and political parties, saying three to five judges should not be allowed to always overturn decisions made by the millions of Nigerian voters during an elections.

Obasanjo, who described the authority and powers vested in the hands of a few Nigerian judges to upturn results of elections as “totally unacceptable,” however, called on the policy makers and Nigerians to devise a political and legal means by which such an act will be discontinued.

Read also: Obasanjo’s estranged wife accuses him of being “Nigeria’s real problem”

Obasanjo’s worries came against the backdrop of the ongoing judgements of the Nigerian Court of Appeal on the electoral disputes arising from 2023 general election in Nigeria as the Appellate Court reportedly sacked three state governors in separate judgements delivered by the judges of the Court of Appeal.

BusinessDay reports that the affected governors are Dauda Lawal of Zamfara State, Abba Yusuf of Kano State and Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State.

Speaking at the high-level consultation on Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy in Africa held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta, Obasanjo expressed dissatisfaction over what he termed, “cathedral pronouncements” by the judges.

“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 10 million on one side, maybe 9 million 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. 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,” he said.