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Travails of Democracy in Nigeria (Part (1): Annual Festival of Judicial Coronations of Failed Candidates at the Polls

By: Franklin Otorofani, Esq
Published November 15th, 2010
These two examples of judicial corruption must not be allowed to happen or re-occur in the new Tribunals for the 2007 Elections.—late legal luminary, Chief Gani Fawehinmi

I have never been and will never be an apostle and advocate of using the judiciary to upturn the verdict of the people delivered in an election however flawed the election may have been for the simple fact that the judiciary itself is not always an unbiased umpire in electoral disputes and it is not in its place to determine winners or losers of an election. That role properly belongs to the people and the people only, not judges. All the judiciary can do in cases of substantial irregularity is to remit the matter back to the people themselves to determine. The people must have the final say at all times.—Franklin Otorofani, Esq.

The status quo amounts to a systemic disenfranchisement of the people and judicial ambush of our democracy that has led to judicial coronation of failed candidates. It is, therefore, time to shut down this judicial mill that is producing governors for the states.—Franklin Otorofani, Esq.

Quite often we are confronted with the misleading conception of Nigeria as a “young democracy” that ought to be handled with care, because it is still fragile like a thin glass that could be shattered into smithereens if mishandled by its present caretakers on behalf of the Nigerian people.

These fears are largely informed by Nigeria’s previous failures at instituting an enduring democratic order resulting in frequent military takeovers that had set the nation backward by several decades. Therefore, the political elites are ever so fearful of the nation going down that route again having being the biggest losers in military rule. As a result of such inherent fears propagated by the political class, even minor political disagreements which are the usual staples of democracy are seen through a negative prism as “destabilizing” to the nation and “overheating the polity.” Nigerians ought to have outgrown such fears by now had democracy been allowed to grow.

Nigeria is a young democracy? Nothing could be farther from the truth. Emphatically, Nigeria is NOT a young democracy. Fragile, yes, but young it’s not. While it is true that younger generations of Nigeria might not have tasted democracy before now having been born and nurtured in an environment of brutal military dictatorships, which in turn militarized the civil polity, Nigeria’s democratic experience predated her independence in 1960, the 50th anniversary of which was celebrated on October 1, 2010.

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It is, therefore, correct to state that Nigeria was born in, nurtured and weaned on a diet of democracy. Nigeria’s founding fathers such as Herbert Macaulay, H.O. Davis, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello, Tafawa Balewa, Anthony Enahoro, Michael Okpara and the political titans of the pre and post independence era who graced and bestrode Nigeria’s political landscapes like colossuses, were all products of democracy. They were in no way exposed to the rapacious military dictatorships, which began their perilous sojourn in politics in 1966 and became the lots of the present generations of Nigerians. In other words, they were all democrats who mastered the art of leadership under the pupilage of colonial masters.

In reality, therefore, democracy in Nigeria is much older than Nigeria itself and goes way back to colonial rule although its practice was guided and minimalist at the beginnings and incremental with the various constitutional dispensations right from the Clifford Constitution in 1922 that ended with the Independence Constitution of 1960.

What this brief historical excursion does not tell us, however, is that Nigeria’s democracy has been a chronically sick paraplegic having suffered serious congenital defects at birth that have prevented the nation from growing up to maturity and take her place in the global democratic community. And what’s more, these defects have failed to respond to the periodic and episodic surgical remedies that have been administered on them by military surgeons who knew little about democracy to begin with. It’s no surprise, therefore, that all the remedies prescribed by the military have failed to cure these defects and have, in fact, made them worse.

While it is beyond the scope of this essay to examine the root causes of these defects, however, their outward symptoms have generally revealed themselves in the unbridled electoral malpractices that seem to belie the nation’s claim to a democratic state. Every Nigerian election has witnessed, with the singular exception of the 1993 election that would have brought the late Chief MKO Abiola to power but for its mindless annulment by the military, allegations of wholesale rigging and other forms of serious electoral malpractices to the extent that no chief electoral officer has survived any election in office, the latest being Professor Maurice Iwu.

This endemic state of affairs has spawned what may appropriately be described as a uniquely Nigerian electoral litigation industry with the judiciary rather than the electorate dictating the winners and losers of political contests and filling states’ executive mansions with their favorite candidates by judicial fiats that are not appealable and questioned by none. Yet no one seems to care about examining the issue as to whether the judiciary has been above board in its duties or has merely taken over the rigging process from where the electoral agencies left off. And this is the case even in the face of an avalanche of allegations of judicial corruption regarding election petitions pending at the courts and tribunals. 

The popular media and the general public are complicit; opposition politicians who are the instigators and beneficiaries of this judicial anomie are rapturous; the judiciary regards it as veritable gold mine; labor unions and the nation’s intelligentsia have acquiesced in it, including professional bodies like the NBA whose senior members are feeding fat from it as their share of the so-called democracy dividends; and pretty much everyone has come to accept it as a permanent feature of our democracy, but it’s time someone stood up to raise his voice against this blatant rape on democracy through the instrumentality of the nation’s judiciary, for the cause of justice is not being served. Judicial coronation of failed electoral candidates by corrupt and/or partisan judicial officers is no more acceptable than the results of rigged elections by crooked politicians with or without the connivance of electoral officers. Electoral officers might be corrupt but who says judicial officers are incorruptible angels in Nigeria? If anything, they are worse than electoral officers.

I have never been and will never be an apostle and advocate of using the judiciary to upturn the verdict of the people delivered in an election however flawed the election may have been for the simple fact that the judiciary itself is not always an unbiased umpire in electoral disputes and it is not in its place to determine the winners and losers of an election. That role properly belongs to the people and the people only, not judges. All the judiciary can do in cases of substantial irregularity is to remit the matter back to the people themselves to determine. The people must have the final say at all times. Elections are not held in courtrooms but at polling stations with the people making their choices. At no time should the people be short circuited.

When in 2000 the largely Republican Party appointed and unabashedly ideologically partisan US Supreme Court was asked to step into the Bush/Gore electoral debacle, the court’s verdict was a foregone conclusion even before the case was heard. Gore and Democrats already knew that the battle had been lost at that point and Bush and his Republican party had started preparing for his coronation ceremony the moment the suit landed on the late Chief Justice Reinquist’s (a Republican appointee) desk at the US Supreme Court to constitute a panel to hear the petition.

For those who don’t know it the US Supreme Court is an ideologically conflicted judicial institution the composition of which is a political battle between the Republican and Democratic parties. And that’s why confirmation hearings of judicial appointments to the US Supreme Court are fierce, and contentious because it is about political control of the court and its decisions are in the main a reflection of this political control depending on who is sitting on which cases.

It would be recalled that Al-Gore won the popular votes in the 2000 US presidential election by a wide margin but it turned on the disputed Florida votes for both candidates to clinch the state of Florida for the purpose of the Electoral College that actually determines the winner rather than the popular votes. While Al-Gore and the Democrats had the popular votes Bush and Republicans had the US Supreme Court on their side and did everything to ensure that the matter wound up in the court. And as they say the rest is history. GW Bush was crowned King of the United States, thanks to the Supreme Court!

Fast forward: Back in Nigeria, similar judicial coronations have become annual festivals in such states like Rivers, Edo, Ondo, and most recently, Ekiti, with others like Sokoto and Osun waiting in the wings to take their turns. And in all of these cases the so-called winners always managed to know the verdicts of the courts well ahead of time just like the Republicans in the United States! And this has seriously mutilated the nation’s electoral calendar with each affected state now having different gubernatorial election date from the rest of the country thus further complicating the work of the already overburdened national electoral agency. This cannot be considered healthy by any stretch of the imagination. It’s totally unhealthy.

However, while the case of the US Supreme Court partisan disposition is purely ideological in character and no financial inducement can even be remotely suggested, the case of the Nigerian judiciary is not altogether free of such suggestions. In fact, allegations of financial inducements have become the staple in judicial pronouncements in Nigeria. And no tier of the federal judicial establishment is more engrossed in this mess than the Court of Appeal, which, not co-incidentally, has the final say in gubernatorial petition matters. To invest one court with such powers like the Nigerian customs and excise authority to determine who becomes governor of a state in a country like Nigeria is an open invitation to corruption. And this realization must have informed the amendment to the Electoral Act to provide for appeals to the Supreme Court from the Court of Appeal making it more difficult for the lower courts to indulge in inappropriate conduct bordering on corruption knowing that their judgments will be reviewed by superior courts down the road.    

For now, however, the Court of Appeal is the Alpha and Omega of election petitions particularly governorship elections and has been dogged with allegations of corruption in almost all cases going through its judicial portals. While the allegations are legion the cases of Charles Solubo Vs Andy Mba; Governor of Sokoto state Aliyu Magatarkada Wamakko of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Democratic Peoples Party’s (DPP) candidate, Alhaji Maigari Dingyadi; and  Fayemi Vs Oni have all raised the specter of corrupt inducements to pervert the course of justice. And in the case of Sokoto state, the National Judicial Commission (NJC) has, in fact, been activated to deal with the allegations of judicial impropriety on the part of the Court of Appeal.

While allegations are not prima facie proofs of their substances, the fact that the Nigerian judiciary is operating in an environment festering with unbridled corruption where desperate politicians go to great lengths to corrupt public functionaries in order to secure undue advantages for themselves, few Nigerians would vouch for the integrity of Nigerian judiciary even if many might nevertheless welcome the judicial outcomes to underline their hatred for the ruling party, PDP. And that may help to explain why the judiciary is viciously attacked when it delivers judgments that are favorable to the ruling party and lauded to high heavens when its verdicts go in the opposite direction. However, this judicial pendulum is in the main powered by corruption. Corruption is the fuel powering the judicial machine.

There is no question that many of the judgments awarding victories to failed candidates at the tribunals and courts in the land were procured through corrupt means. And if anyone is in doubt I would recommend such to go read this report by Bribery scandal rocks election tribunals | NigerianMuse. These bribery scandals have not been well documented but they’re legion. But here are two that were documented by the late legal luminary, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, in a Guardian article May 02, 2007.

Lamenting the corrupt disposition of judges in electoral adjudication the late legal icon penned the following words in the article from which I have taken liberty of the reader to quote extensively due to its characteristically lucid and detailed presentation:

“Unfortunately, the downright dishonesty of some of the Judges who were involved in 2003 Election Tribunals gave the Nigerian people much worry. I will refer to two instances: The first was the Anambra South Senatorial Election Tribunal, which looked into the grievances of a contestant Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu against the election of Dr. Ugochukwu Uba. The Tribunal found for Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu against Dr. Ugochukwu Uba. Dr. Uba appealed to the Court of Appeal. Meanwhile, he had been sworn in as a Senator. The matter came before the Court of Appeal and the Court of Appeal of three Justices, Hon. Justice Okwuchukwu Opene, Hon. Justice David Adedoyin Adeniji and Hon. Justice Kumai Bayang Akaahs disagreed among themselves.

Two of the Justices Hon. Justice Okwuchukwu Opene and Hon. Justice David Adedoyin Adeniji gave judgment to Dr. Ugochukwu Uba and the third Justice, Hon. Justice Kumai Bayang Akaahs, the youngest of them disagreed and dissented and gave judgment to Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu. After the appeal, the National Judicial Council (NJC) received petitions that two of the three Justices took bribe. The National Judicial Council established under Section 153 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 set up a committee headed by late Justice Kolawole a retired Justice of the Court of Appeal. After a thorough investigation by the Committee it was found that Justice Okwuchukwu Opene who presided at the Court of Appeal took a bribe of N15,000,000.00 (Fifteen million Naira) and Justice David Adedoyin Adeniji took a bribe of N12,000,000.00 (Twelve million Naira) and three unascertained Ghana-must-Go bags and that Justice Kumai Bayang Akaahs the youngest of them refused to take bribe. He rejected corruption and did the Judiciary proud.

Consequently, the National Judicial Council (NJC) recommended to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that these two justices, Hon. Justice Okwuchukwu Opene and Hon. Justice David Adedoyin Adeniji were guilty of corruption and abuse of office and that they should be sacked as Justices of the Court of Appeal. On the 3rd of May, 2005, the President acting under Section 292 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, dismissed those two Justices from the Judicial Bench of Nigeria.

The Second instance was the Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Tribunal set up after the 2003 Governorship Election. There were five members of the Tribunal. Whilst the proceedings were still pending in the Tribunal, on the 10th July, 2003 the petitioner petitioned the Chief Justice of Nigeria who is the Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC) complaining that four of the five members of the Tribunal i.e. the Chairman, Hon. Justice M. M. Adamu (a Lady), Hon. Justice D. T. Ahura, Hon. Justice A. M. Elelegwa and Chief Magistrate O. J. Isede had been compromised with large sums of money as bribe by the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah.

The National Judicial Council (NJC) investigated the complaints through a committee set up for that purpose and found that the allegations were true and that the Chairman of the Election Tribunal and three other members received bribes during the sitting. They were accordingly dismissed from the judicial Bench. One Judge who was not a member of the Tribunal, Hon. Justice C.P.N. Senlong of the Federal High Court was also dismissed for corruption and abuse of office because he was found to have associated with one of the contestants in a corrupt manner. These two examples of judicial corruption must not be allowed to happen or re-occur in the new Tribunals for the 2007 Elections”.

What more evidence does anyone need to convince him that all that glitters in the judiciary is not gold? On the contrary it could be said that much of what goes on at the election tribunals in Nigeria is more dross than gold. There is not a single Nigerian that remotely believes in the impartiality and incorruptibility of the Nigerian judiciary when it comes to election petitions. Yet most Nigerians do not seem to take this into account when reacting to judicial pronouncements arising from election petitions and are quick to applaud these questionable verdicts, particularly when they go against the PDP because the press has shut the dross out of public scrutiny and perforce out of public consciousness. There is an inherent contradiction in a people who otherwise have no faith in their public institutions, including the judiciary turning around to applaud the same judiciary when its verdicts go in a certain way and denounce it when its verdicts go in another way.

How does one account for this seeming disconnect. The answer lies in the general dislike for the ruling PDP as a party not necessarily its leaders, and the sympathetic disposition of the masses to the plight of opposition parties who do not seem to make any electoral headway, which has been blamed on the PDP. It’s like they’re compensating assumed victims of electoral robberies. But should that be an excuse for allowing the judiciary to rig elections in favor of failed candidates in the opposition just to give the PDP a bloody nose as it is alleged to have done to opposition parties at the polls? Even if the allegations against the PDP are true, must two wrongs make a right? This writer is predicting a time when the searchlight will be beamed on the judiciary as democracy takes firmer roots and all the rot will be exposed in due course no matter how long it might take to get there. Chief Gani Fawehimni might be gone, but another Gani will rise up to take the battle to the judiciary as he had done in the above article and at other forums. And Gani was no friend of the ruling PDP party. In fact, he carpeted the PDP before descending on the judiciary in opening parts of the article.

The late chief says these two incidences must not be allowed to re-occur in the new tribunals. Well with due respect the chief knew too well that that was a mere wishful thinking in a country like Nigeria ranked among the most corrupt nations in the world. He must be churning in his grave at the dimensions bribery has taken in the Nigerian judiciary. Should I need to add that these corrupt tendencies have assumed even more frightening dimensions since the chief passed on about a year ago with bribery allegations flying in air like nocturnal bats? Bribery is at the heart of the judicial verdicts and the so-called winners know it because they’re privy to it.

It is, therefore, fallacious and denial of reality for anyone to imagine that the judiciary is merely giving expression to the will of the people expressed at the polls by upturning results of elections that do not reflect the will of the people, but in fact, substituting its will for the will of the people through corrupt inducements that are not easily amenable to public scrutiny. And it is much easier for a judge to rig a case than for an INEC official to rig an election. By its very nature, corruption is shrouded in secrecy. However the perpetrators easily give themselves away by their very conduct. For instance when a party to a petition begins to make preparations for his coronation by printing posters and the like ahead of the delivery of judgment is a tell tale sign that money might have changed hands. When a judge takes more than passing interest in the conduct of a case before him by throwing himself into the arena and exhibiting hostile or patronizing attitude toward either of the parties it is a tell tale sign that money might have changed hands. There are lots of tell tale signs that give judges away for those trained in judicial proceedings to appropriately decipher and decode, even if by themselves, might not offer conclusive proof of corrupt inducements. This code of secrecy is what is shielding judicial officers from getting caught in the act unless special investigation is empanelled by the National Judicial Council or some other ad hoc body.  

Although modern legislations have achieved a high degree of linguistic precision, law remains basically an ass that can be easily manipulated by corrupt and unscrupulous judges to arrive at a pre-determined destination without the judges getting caught in the process like corrupt INEC officials. This is because judicial officers are invested with a lot of discretionary powers the exercise of which could tilt the scales of justice one way or another without the judges getting caught. And judges have been exploiting this power from time immemorial to attain pre-determined ends in favor of litigants. This is one of the reasons for instituting the appellate system. When judges know that their judgments are subject to judicial review by higher courts they think twice before manipulating cases before them to achieve particular ends. This is what has been missing in the gubernatorial petitions. The Court of Appeals has been invested with final powers rather than the Supreme Court.

With respect to election petitions in Nigeria, judicial verdicts are simply going to the highest bidders. With huge financial inducements to rig cases before them, Nigerian judicial officers handling election petitions now qualify to be inducted into the inner sanctum of the super rich overnight. Being a member of an election tribunal is now the surest and fastest means to unearned wealth and this should be as troubling as the antics of desperate politicians who rig elections to get to power. Judicial officers have become billionaires. It is rigging by other means. The nation has simply substituted one form of rigging with another. Rigging has simply shifted from the polling stations to the judicial stations. And that’s where it is happening long after elections have been lost and won at the polling stations and the electorate itself has forgotten about the elections.

It’s a shame that no one, including the press, has been able to unearth this evil and bring to shame and public odium the judicial officers involved. Allegations of corruption are rife in the air, but the press has never followed through to tackle the phenomenon. The same is true of civil society groups. Both look the other way when these allegations are made. They’re merely reported and forgotten. It would appear that all the press and the civil society groups are concerned with is a PDP governor or lawmaker being removed from office by a tribunal or Court of Appeal and, hurrah!, they go— no questions asked.

Such gross indifference on the one hand and double standards on the other is injurious to our democracy and unbecoming of a national press and those who claim to be the conscience of the nation. Looking the other way in the face of allegation of corruption when favored parties are involved is an abdication of social responsibility and an example of how not to be the conscience of the nation. This is not how to perfect the electoral process of which the judiciary is part and parcel so far as it relates to electoral dispute resolution.

That being the indisputable reality in the chronically corrupt Nigerian system as a whole, it is little surprise then that those who either genuinely lost elections or are otherwise rigged out of their victories head for the tribunals to do their own rigging their own way and get to power through the back door. Therefore, far from celebrating the election verdicts being delivered by the judiciary with reckless abandon, Nigerians should pause and reassess their implications on our democracy. And if they do, they may very well discover that the nation has simply removed the poisonous ring from its finger and placed it on its toe because the judiciary is just as corrupt as the politicians and INEC officials. As such, whatever judgment emanating from it, whether it’s in favor of the ruling party or the opposition is already tainted with the tar of bribery and corruption. And it couldn’t have been otherwise.   

It may well be that the ruling PDP had, in fact, employed ignoble and dishonorable means to get to power through electoral malpractices and as such deserves to lose some of the elected positions. But so also are the other political parties none of which should feign electoral piety. Nigeria’s entire political class is nurtured in the culture of election rigging and other forms of electoral malpractices. And let the politician without sin be the first to cast the stone! There is hardly any elected official in power today in Nigeria whether in the ruling party or in the opposition parties whose election did not benefit from rigging one way or another.

It’s not a PDP disease alone that rigs election because members of the opposition parties were once PDP members who were either expelled or were marginalized. Both the ruling party and the opposition parties who cry the most about rigging are composed of the same politicians who know no other means of getting to power except through vote rigging and electoral brigandage and are therefore equally guilty of the same vice. It, therefore, smacks of crass partisanship to single out one party for vilification while representing the others as somehow clean. No, they’re not and they know it. And this is not an attempt to sanitize the PDP but to present the realities on the ground in as fair and objective a manner as the issue deserves if we’re serious about cleansing the Augean stable and make our democracy more perfect and acceptable than the caricature it has become on all fronts. The entire ruling class has to clean up its acts, and while the PDP has a greater responsibility for doing so because it is the ruling party, the opposition parties are by no means exempted from doing the same.

Thus while partisan hack writers would be quick to jump on the ruling party, misrepresenting and disingenuously pass off the opposition parties as paragons of democracy, any objective observer and analyst understands too well that the cancer of electoral malpractices can be found in the body tissues of the ruling as well as the opposition parties in different measures relative to their sizes and areas of influence and none is even remotely free of the ailment. And this is a statement of fact not conjecture, opinion, or guesswork.

Therefore, I’m extremely reluctant to single out one party for vilification as all of them are in the rigging business according to their means and reach. This is why we must be extremely careful in singling out one party for attacks even if it is the ruling party because the opposition parties are no better as could be seen from the results of local government elections conducted by state controlled States Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs). Rigging is rigging whether it is done at the center or at local levels.

Now, this raises the question as to what happens if a candidate feels strongly about the results of an election. Should the candidate not seek justice through the judiciary as provided for under the laws and the constitution? Of course, the answer is yes, by all means. And the judiciary could address the complaint by either upholding or upturning the electoral results, but no more. As earlier indicated, it is not the business of the courts to declare winners of electoral contests but to remit the cases back to the people for their final say. And it has done just that admirably in quite a few cases, such as for example, in Ekiti, Sokoto, Anambra, and now Delta states where the people themselves were (are) given the chance to either revalidate the their choice or repudiate the results declared by INEC. This puts the people themselves in the position of true kingmakers, not judges.

I’m earnestly recommending that this should be the template for all judicial interventions in electoral disputes. But the opposite has been the case with similar disputes in the states of Edo, Ondo and now, Ekiti again. No one or institution should be vested with the power and authority to divine the will of the people, who are not dead in an election. The people themselves can and should be called upon to express their will in a fresh election to resolve any disputed votes in any particular electoral district or polling station as the case may be. It is not for the judiciary to cancel the votes of the electorate for reasons of purely technical deficiencies like the failure to cross a “T” or dot an “I” or the misspelling of a name or the use of a wrong form by INEC returning officers, and things like that in the ballot. The people’s votes must not be treated with such flippancy bordering on disdain. When we say we want our votes to count they must be seen to count and not thrown away on mere technicalities as was apparently done in the case of Ekiti where the votes of an entire local government area which happens to be the home base of the then governor were summarily voided by the court without calling for a rerun in those places. That to me is evidence of judicial rigging and amounts to complete disenfranchisement of the voters in that particular local government. It’s totally unjust and unfair. 

It’s unconscionable, in fact criminal, for the judiciary to void the ballots of those who left their jobs and stood for hours on end come rain or shine to exercise their franchise. Why is it better for the electoral cases to be dragged through the judicial landscape for years on end than to conduct fresh polls in an electoral district where votes are disputed to enable the people remake their decisions on the candidates? If Adams Oshiomhole truly won the gubernatorial election in the Edo state it is not for the judiciary to decree it, let the people tell us in a fresh poll in the disputed area. If Abel Mimiko won the election in Ondo state, it is not for the judiciary to tell us, let the people do so in a fresh ballot. If Fayemi won the election in Ekiti state, let the people tell us, not the Court of Appeal, in fresh election. And if Rotimi Amechi---in River state won the election---oh, wait a minute—he didn’t even contest the gubernatorial election in the first place! Anyway, let the people themselves vote him into power and not the Supreme Court to impose him on the people of River state by judicial fiat by upturning the votes of the people. This is a monumental travesty of the electoral process. 

Reducing our judiciary to “Cash n Carry” business that they have become is inimical to the growth of our democracy. While those who have turned the judiciary into an auction house for the highest bidders applaud it as the “last hope of the common man,” nobody is fooled that their so-called “victories” might well be contrived and procured with ignoble, underhanded means and therefore a continuation of the cycle of rigging by other means. Their self-serving effusive praise for the judiciary as the last hope of the common man is at best suspect and hypocritical.

The National Assembly can save the nation this judicial incubus by amending the electoral law to mandate automatic election reruns in the event of the nullification of electoral results by the judiciary in the disputed areas of the state or local government in question. The people themselves, not judges, should have the final word on election results because elections are the people’s business not judges business.

The status quo amounts to a systemic disenfranchisement of the people and judicial ambush of our democracy that has led to judicial coronation of failed candidates. It is, therefore, time to shut down this judicial mill that is producing governors for the states. The judiciary does not belong there. That’s the people’s business to handle. The reluctance of Nigeria’s political elites to come to terms with the demand that democracy belongs to the people who alone must chose their leaders is at the root of the travails of democracy in Nigeria. It is at the root of the current Alhaji Adamu Ciroma’s shenanigan in the north and also at the root of the present judicial coronation of failed candidates at the polls. When will the Nigerian people ever matter in Nigeria? Any answers? The readers’ opinions will be greatly appreciated.    

Franklin Otorofani, Esq. is an Attorney and Public Affairs’ Analyst

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