By Sylvester Udemezue
(12 November 2022)

In my opinion, there’re hardly any cogent reasons to have taken any serving Judge away from his jurisdiction, for election matters.

It’s part of the problem we’re talking about; how many judges are in those states? Do we have enough already? How far have they performed in clearing the backlog of pending cases on their cause lists?

Now, you dislocate them by dragging them to election tribunals. In the 6 months or thereabouts, after the elections, the judges would abandon their own courts and the thousands of cases pending before them, for election petition tribunals. When they return from Election petition assignment, they’d take Annual leave or join Annual vacation 2023. That’s it for the year 2023. The litigants whose cases have been before them for years should go to hell.

▪️Are election cases more important than the tens of thousands of cases pending before each court for years — in some cases for up to 10-15 years?
▪️Why take these judges away and suspend dispensation of justice in those other cases?
▪️Why not consider using
1️⃣retired Magistrates, judges/justices of High Courts, the FHC, NICN, CA, SC. Many are retired but very active, vibrant, not tired!
2️⃣Nonaligned SANs, scholars and other senior lawyers and activists. Many are willing and capable. After all, election petition job is well remunerated; that in itself is huge motivation

Besides, using serving judges makes the judges susceptible to control by the party that controls the incumbent government. Seasoned scholars, SANs, lawyers and retired jurists (chosen based on track record of performance and integrity) will be more fearless, courageous impartial and independent-minded.

Sylvester Udemezue (Udems)
(12 November 2022)

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