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On Uduaghan : The Appellate Court Uses Poor Judgment and a disorienting strategy

By: John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D
 Published January 6th, 2011

No one knows how the hurriedly imposed January election would turnout in a society that faces grave challenges in election infrastructure. Nor should any one blame the Petitioner for rightly exercising his legal rights to fight a case in court.

The cause of any alarm now or in the coming months, at least till April of this year is the judiciary that showed lack of strategic judgment on this case as it relates the understanding of time management, separation of power, the value of a lower court and the importance of clear-cut, and sound judicial pronouncement on societal matters like the current legal development.

What was clear in this matter was that there was no sign of constitutional or regional crisis that warranted the Court to put a major burden on the Delta people, by issuing an impulsive like order for an election within three months. Ms. Monica Mensah and members of her panel could have remanded the case back to the Election Tribunal which on the October 9th, 2010 had heard the same case.

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The Appeal Court in its mode of “too quick” judgment could have asked the Delta State Election Board or a national watch dog to set the stage for the expected gubernatorial April election, at a time when the Delta People would generally be more energized and in the mood to come out and vote in a more somewhat secure atmosphere.

It appears that Court of Appeal was not only acting as if it is the Nation’s Supreme Court, a Court of last say on interpretative matters in the nation. Justice Mensah and her regiment acted as a State election body, a Police force and even in a legislative kind of role.

The Appeal Court should be reminded that the present Constitution of Nigeria is Democratic-Presidential in whole, rather than that which functions as a document of authoritarianism, barbarianism and oligarchy. Here is a puzzling note.

What if Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan captures the hurriedly imposed election coming up in a few hours, would the Appeal court then physically use its hands and legs to show its power?

The Appeal Court would have shown more constrain in its judicial temperament, conduct and behavior by keeping its self-way from any act or image of judicial activism or political impulsiveness, as this is clearly the case when it imposed an election timeline, called for a hasty election for a governorship that not only end in a few months but open to a general election in a few weeks.

While the Appeal court should not be judged for using the same reported evidence to dismiss the case of irregularities previously brought on by an A.C.N gubernatorial candidate, this particular Court needs to the tell scholars and students of judicial or psycho-legal studies why it should not be accused of error in judgment, in the area of separation of power specially?

John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D , DABPS, FACFE, is a Forensic/Clinical Psychologist and an Assistant Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Science, North Campus, Broward College, Coconut Creek, Florida.

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