The Supreme Court have been under immense pressure to review some of the cases finalized by it’s jurist in the post 2019 general elections despite being the Apex Court of the nation. It has been scrutinized of double standards for reaching the rationale of it’s judgments with specific reference to the cases of “Zamfara State,Imo State with the most recent the Gubernatorial election tribunal of Bayelsa State”.
The Supreme Court took to an unprecedented decision by agreeing to hear the appeal by opposition parties of the states on grounds of the judgments given by its panel of Judges for review. While some consider it as only fair,others conceptualize the decision as a threat to overwhelming it’s capacity and abuse of court processes. While it is common knowledge to most people,it is equally uncommon knowledge to others that the Supreme Court has the authority to review it’s judgments when undeniable errors have been realized in judgments pronounced despite being the Court of Final Arbiter in rare cases. As policy makers,the Apex Court should look in hindsight to realize other judgments given by it’s sacred institution in previous similar cases during the same post election tribunals where it ignored the lapses,facts and basis considered as it’s rationale for reaching to its final pronouncements of election dispute mostly between the Ruling Party,All Progressives Congress,(APC) and the Opposition Party,People’s Democratic Party,(PDP) in it’s most recent judgments. One may make bold to say that the Supreme Court has given excessive ample room for too many cases to be filed and be heard at it’s level of adjudication. By upturning as opposed to upholding the judgments of inferior courts down to the Court of First Instance,the Supreme Court have depicted a clear pronouncement that shows negligence ,invalidated,unsound,erred and unjustifiable rulings of the lower court which very is common in it’s proceedings.
The question to be asked is,how come the cases with worse facts,validity,incoherent elements,certainty of criminal conduct and electoral malpractices prior to the ones being reviewed were devoid of such thorough considerations of admissible evidences ? Several cases of such nature were dismissed in less than 30 minutes. With all due respect to the Supreme Court,it is safe to say that the logic of proof beyond reasonable doubt is arguably no longer the norm in pronouncement of judgments. The decision agreed upon to review the election cases of Zamfara State and Imo State has captured the attention of the entire country and the globe to a larger extent. The Supreme Court ought to realize the magnitude and future implications of appealing its judgments.
The politicians equally supporting the review of such case should bear in mind that by aiding and abetting such Legal Proceedings across boundaries for their political interests might fall victim to the same process,should they acquire victory during elections in the nearest and foreseeable future. Since the decision has already been made with an adjournment confirmed for the 2nd of March 2020,the Apex Court,should they choose to act as policy makers may consider several options available to it in rectify a decisive judgment that will set a new precedence and serve as a turning point to ensure sanity,transparency,integrity,justice and fairness in their pronouncements. They should use this opportunity in nipping the bud of request for reviews henceforth .i.e. By setting a precedent that the apex court is not in a position of sitting as an appeal court against its own decisions in the future. The Supreme Court shall never entertain nor allow any legal practitioner to reapproach it thus without being penalized by the relevant legal authority. That any judgment of the Apex Court presumed to have been reached per incuriam shall not be reviewed,and will not be cited as a precedent in future adjudications,until the court decides otherwise in any similar upcoming future case.
The Supreme Court should consider new policies as a matter of National Interest by overhauling both the electoral process in Nigeria and Election Tribunals,including Pre-Election Matters. It can order a rigid,thorough,intensive and extensive,detailed,professional,strategic,proactive,transparent,and most importantly,strict rules to use Forensic Experts in verifying the documents submitted by all politicians seeking political office from the highest hierarchy that starts from President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria down to the position of Councilor. Any illegal act committed by politicians,Legal Practitioners and Judges made by means of “omission,commission,transmission,affiliation,restandardization,formation,installation,criminalization,vandalization,prohibition,sarbotization,incrimination and defamation”,should be reviewed and dealt with decisively,ruthlessly and swiftly by all the Relevant Authorities and Courts of Competent Jurisdiction. The entire System of Governance is desperately in need of sanitization.
The Supreme Court should ensure in it’s new policy that all serving politicians in Public Office should be ordered to resubmit their documents and claims of qualifications required as a standard to hold Political Office for re-verification in the appropriate Government Establishments without fear or favour to all and sundry. Investigations of Orderly Conduct,Criminal Records,Character,Health and Capacity to hold Public Office are without a doubt to be the end of the road of any citizen of the nation with the intention for pursuing leadership and entrusted with Public Funds. Should the Supreme Court agree to do so and implement the strict and much needed policy in Nigeria,it will cleanse the entire system and will only to months or a year at most to complete the process and it’s entirety. The most important results to be gained by doing so is to send shockwaves to all corrupt pubic office holders in all three Arms of Government. Seeking review of Supreme Court Judgments by politicians has created an opportunity to correct the wrongs,tie up loose ends that will create avenues for unlawful conducts and the penalties will prevent future reoccurrences of such blatant illegal acts that had sank deep into the fabric of Nigeria.
It is imperative for the Supreme Court to stand by their judgments and not comply with Politicians and their Legal Counsels that apply for it to appeal against it’s own judgment which is best considered as legal tactics of the dark ages. Such citizen should be imposed with a harsh penalty and a hefty fine for the Legal Practitioners through punishment by the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee,(LPDC). Nigeria and it’s present predicaments of the Judicial Turmoil in the Country is at a time when the likes of Justice Yusuf Halilu of the FCT High Court are needed in presiding over such matters of National Interest. The immortalization of Jurists such as,” Late Justice Ademola Adetokunbo,(CJN),Late Justice Mohammed Bello,(CJN),Late Justice Dan Ebekwe,(PCA),Late Justice Mamman Nasir,(PCA)and Late Justice Mustapha Akanbi,(PCA)”,of blessed memories will surely bring back hope to the common man and reverse the Judiciary to it’s Golden days,filled with Honour and Glory.
The Justices of the Supreme Court should consider the saying by late Justice Oputa,JSC,(In Memoriam)” We are final not because we are infallible,rather we are infallible only because we are final”. May Allah SWA continue to bless,guide and protect us with his infinite wisdom and mercy. Amin Ya Rahman.