The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, on Monday, swore in members of the Election Petition Tribunal for the 2023 general elections.
This took place at the National Judicial Institute (NJI) in Abuja to kick off a four-day capacity workshop for the justices and members of the Tribunal.
Justice Ariwoola while swearing-in the 307 judicial officers that will sit on 2023 election petition cases, advised them to desist from actions that could bring disrepute to the judiciary as an institution.
He also warned them not to treat their assignments with levity, as he will not tolerate any form of judicial recklessness.
“As the Chief Justice of Nigeria, I will not condone any act of recklessness or abuse of power from any of you”, he said.
The CJN also launched a Judicial Electoral Manual (JEM) that will guide the tribunal members in the adjudication of disputes that may arise from the 2023 general elections”.
The President of the Appeal Court, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, admonished members of the Tribunal to be firm and law-abiding in the discharge of their duties, nothing that by the nature of their assignments, they will be exposed to temptations but they must be in total control of their thoughts.
Meanwhile, In order to forestall conflicting rulings by the Tribunals, the Appeal Court compiled a case management system, a document that will serve as an additional guide.
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed that the commission is facing over 600 litigations in various courts across the country.
He further added that most of the cases pending against the electoral body, relates to the conduct of primaries by political parties.
He said it was not healthy for the nation that the Commission would be battling with pre-election matters, at a time it ought to be busy with hands on preparation for the necessary logistics for the conduct of the impending polls.
“Infact, just recently, one political party served over 70 court processes on the Commission, seeking to compel it to accept list of candidates, long after the time for nomination of candidates had elapsed”, Prof. Yakubu said
While expressing the Commission’s resolve to continue to abide by court orders, the INEC boss, said there was need for the judiciary to pay strict adherence to precedents.
“Strict adherence to the principle of stare-decisis (precedent) is critical for us as election management body
“A situation where a trial court tries to vary the decision of the Supreme Court, puts the Commission in a very difficult situation.
“The job of politicians is to be purely partisan, but our job as INEC and the Judiciary requires absolute neutrality, may God help us”, he said.