Judges have been warned against granting frivolous injunctions as the general elections approach.
Speakers at a two-day workshop on capacity building for judges on pre-election and election matters urged judges to be wary of the antics of desperate politicians.
It was organized by the Attorneys General Alliance (AGA) Africa and the National Judicial Institute (NJI).
NJI Administrator, Justice Salisu Abdullahi, said considering that Nigeria is a developing nation with an evolving democracy, some provisions of the new Electoral Act 2022 will result in lawsuits.
He maintained that how the judges handle such cases could either strengthen public confidence in the ability of the judiciary to do justice or impugn their integrity.
“A lucid understanding of the provisions of the law, with particular reference to electoral matters, would aid in obviating inscrutability, opaqueness and technicalities which constitute the bane of justice,” he said.
Representative of AGA-Africa, Mr. Marcus Green, said judges play a crucial role in ensuring free and fair elections, hence the need to ensure that they possess the requisite knowledge of what is needed to be done to achieve justice at all times.
“The goal is that citizens have confidence in the rule of law and the electoral processes and the role of judges is to deliver that justice without fear or favour,” he said.
Immediate-past Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, harped on the need for justices and judges handling election matters to show a high level of independence and not bow to external pressure.
He noted that Nigeria’s development is tied to a sustainable democracy, which is anchored on a credible electoral process.
Muhammad stressed that the judiciary plays a crucial role just as the electoral umpire in ensuring a free, credible and peaceful election.
He warned judges against being partisan or allowing themselves to be used by politicians for their selfish end and thereby ridiculing the judiciary.
“As we approach the election year, I must emphasize that the judiciary must not be drawn into the black hole of political expediency as judges are not willing tools to be exploited by the whims and caprices of politicians.”
“You must refrain from granting frivolous injunctions, remain impartial and most importantly shun any form of inducement,” the ex-CJN said.
He noted that litigations have characterized election processes in the country right from party primaries to the main election.
He said aggrieved politicians or those who lost out would approach the court to intervene and would want to corrupt judges to do their bidding by filing frivolous applications and engaging in forum shopping.
He said aside from being focused and committed to their job, judges need to constantly equip themselves with the rudiments of the law to excel.