As the nation is preparing for the 2023 general election, the Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun, has called on the officers of the judiciary to be wary of antics of politicians who would use frivolous court injunctions to thwart the smooth running of the poll.
Abiodun, in a statement by his chief press secretary Kunle Somorin, made this call on Monday at the Special Church Service to usher in the 2022/2023 Legal Year held at the Cathedral of St. Peter, Ake, Abeokuta.
The governor noted that the election period has always been the time when politicians use court processes for their selfish end, calling on the judiciary not to allow any politician to tarnish the image of the third arm of government.
“We are all aware that this country is preparing for another election in a few months time beginning from February, 2023. There will be heightened political activities and politicking. You should expect barrage of applications for injunctions. I trust that members of the Bench in the Ogun State Judiciary appreciate the fact between objectivity and machinations of selfish politicians who just want to take advantage of the judicial process to thwart the smooth running of the elections.
“Therefore, I admonish you to be wary of entertaining frivolous injunctions from the political class, in particular, as we move towards the 2023 general elections”, the governor warned.
He further urged the legal officers to recognise that in a fledgling democracy, they must continue to be a strong pillar for the survival of democratic principles and preserve the rights of the people, who are the sole essence of government while at the same time act as balancing scale between the Executive and the Legislative Arms of government.
The governor emphasized that judicial processes and procedures have direct link to economic development as local and foreign investors must have trust in the judicial processes, adding that “this would give them the assurances that they would get fair hearing in any case of probable misunderstanding”.
“Your processes are directly linked not just to crime reduction, but also to employment generation, poverty alleviation and food security. In fact, when the people are gainfully employed there will be less criminal tendencies. The courts will have fewer criminal cases to attend to. In short, as an important and the third arm of government, the judiciary must continue to place itself in good stead as a reliable and trusted institution which is the last bastion of hope for the common man”, Abiodun pointed out.
The governor who lauded the judiciary in the state for keeping the legacy bestowed by the founding fathers, maintained that the state has played a pioneering role in the evolution and development of a modern system of laws in Nigeria and in the West Africa subregion, urging the current crop of members of the bench to keep the tradition of integrity, diligence, industry and excellence Ogun judiciary is reputed for.
“It is also important that our members of the bench also recognise the fact that the project called Ogun State is still a work in progress. The bench and the wig place on your shoulder a big responsibility to the society. Your pronouncements on or off the bench must continue to reflect wisdom, credibility, tact and all other positive values that which the wig symbolises. You must continue to ensure justice at all times irrespective of whose ox is gored”, the governor submitted.
In his sermon, the Bishop of Methodist Church, Remo Diocese, The Rt. Revd. Bamidele Ibikunle, noted that justice is daily tested in Nigeria as greed and covetousness have assumed a new dimension.
Taking his text from the Book of Jeremiah 6 verse 10, the cleric noted that corruption, insecurity and economic woes remain the main challenges confronting the country, adding that many Nigerians are pre-occupied with how to make money and amass wealth without caring about how it is gotten.
Bishop Ibikunle opined that to solve the many problems plaguing the nation, judges and the judiciary workers must shun corruption and deliver judgement expeditiously, while those in authority should deal fairly, justly, equitably with the people knowing that all mortals would render account of their stewardship to God at the end of their journey on earth.
The Chief Judge of the State, Justice Mosunmola Dipeoulu read the only the lesson of the service, taken from Acts 8:26-40.