In it’s preparations to address litigations likely to arise from the conclusion of the 2023 general elections, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Lateef Ariwoola has inaugurated 277 election petitions tribunal members.
The CJN also declared open a three-day capacity building workshop for the members of the elections tribunal and Justices of the Court of Appeal.
Addressing the judicial officers in Abuja, Justice Olukayode Lateef Ariwoola urged the Tribunal members to consider the oath taken as an undertaken not to be handled with levity but a solemn pledge between them (Lordships) and the creator.
He said, for being privileged to be found worthy to serve in these tribunals, they are expected to conduct their affairs within the ambit of the law.
“Anything short of that will place you on a collision course with history, and then, God will ask you the questions that you might not be confident enough to answer.”
“I can confidently tell you that this is a weighty undertaking you have just signed before the Almighty God,” warninh that, as the Chief Justice of Nigeria, he will not condone any act of recklessness, abuse of power and public trust.
The CJN said, even though he rejoiced with them on their appointments, he still sympathizes with them for the many troubles, inconveniences, verbal assaults and all sorts of uncomplimentary remarks that will be made on then by various litigants in the course of adjudication.
He told the judicial officers that trust is a burden and they must discharge it with utmost sincerity, honesty and transparency, because conscience is an open wound healed only by truth.
In her remarks, the President of Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongbang Mensen, said the capacity building training will further enhance their knowledge on how to professionally handle the National Assignment.
Justice Mensen urged them to avoid judicial rascality by not taking any point for granted in the course of adjudication.
Doing so, she added, will help to grow Nigeria’s democracy.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmud Yakubu who expressed happiness with the inauguration of the tribunal said the workshop will enhance the understanding of INEC’s processes, especially the innovations introduced pursuant to the enactment of the Electoral Act 2022 which came into force in February 2022.
“The new Electoral Act contains eighty new provisions intended to improve our elections and address some of the lacunae in the repealed Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), provide legal backing to the technological innovations introduced by the Commission overtime and the extension of timelines for the nomination of candidates and for other electoral activities.”
Professor Mahmud reassured the judiciary that the Commission will continue to abide by Court orders.
Also at the event was the launching of a Judicial Electoral Manual.
Development partners at the event assured Nigerian government of support for the success of the 2023 elections.
The 277 members of the 2023 Election Petitions Tribunal were drawn from various lower and higher courts in the country.