The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola on Thursday swore in 39 additional judges to man the election petition tribunals currently sitting across the federation.
The CJN, during the ceremony which took place at the Supreme Court, said the judges were found worthy to be appointed as additional members of tribunals that have been saddled with an “avalanche of petitions” trailing the 2023 general election.
Administering the oath on the newly appointed election petition tribunal judges, the CJN, instructed them to live above board and to submit to the sanctity of the rule of law in the discharge of their judicial functions.
Stressing that the country needs peace “at this crucial phase”, he admonished them not to allow sentiment and public opinion to betray their sense of judgment.
He said, “You have just taken an oath that has not only imposed a course of upright moral undertaking on you but equally looped you with destiny.”
“This is an enormous national assignment that will literally put the contents of your conscience to the test.”
“No amount of homily can convey the enormity of this task. But suffice it to say that you are already initiating an interaction with history. Whatever action or inaction you exhibit today will serve as your testament In the annals of the Nigerian judiciary.
“As judicial Officers, you may have, one way or the other, trodden this somewhat dreaded terrain, but you must, against all odds, rise above the murky waters of failure and infamy.
“The onus is on you to keep aloft the banner of honesty and integrity that the judiciary has painstakingly hoisted over the years. Your appointment to serve in these tribunals is well conceived, thus, you should do everything within your ability to justify this confidence.
“There is no doubt that you will be exposed to different forms of temptations and even blackmails but you should know that all are aimed at testing your strength of character, honesty and integrity.
“My candid advice is that, in whatever circumstance, you should always be mindful of this oath you have just taken because it now stands as an uncompromising witness between you and your creator.
“It behoves you to willingly submit yourselves to the sanctity of the rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution in the discharge of your judicial functions. It is the general belief that elections held when the rule of law is too fragile, seldom lead to lasting democratic governance.
“You are enjoined to always strike a balance between justice and the rule of law as you embark on this critical national assignment.”
“As you all know, the rule of law delayed is lasting peace denied because justice is a handmaiden of true peace.”
“We need this in Nigeria more than ever before. The trumpet must first sound from the temple of justice; hence we put you forward as champions of this noble cause.”
“By the virtue of this oath, you are now armed with the power to adjudicate on electoral disputes and take decisions in accordance with your convictions, which must be deeply rooted in law and not sentiments or public opinion.”
“I pray the Almighty God will grant you the courage and wisdom to carry out this responsibility without faltering or failing.”
It would be recalled that the CJN had earlier sworn in 307 judicial officers to preside over petitions from the 2023 general election.
The addition of the 39 judges has increased the number of the various tribunal members currently hearing petitions that arose from the conduct of the 2023 general elections to 346.
INEC Releases 2023 General Elections Report
The Independent National Electoral Commission has released the 2023 general elections report.
Its National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Sam Olumekun, disclosed this in a statement on Friday.
The report was released almost a year after the 2023 general elections.
Some Nigerians had expressed disappointment over the delayed uploads of the presidential election results to the INEC result viewing portal.
However, Olumekun said the election report was reviewed and approved for publication at the commission’s weekly meeting held on Thursday.
He noted that the publication was done in keeping with the commission’s tradition over the last four electoral cycles, and its commitment to transparency.
Olumekun said the “comprehensive 526-page document, structured into 13 chapters and enhanced with 60 tables, 14 boxes, and 10 graphs, offered an in-depth analysis of the election’s key processes, achievements, and challenges, along with valuable lessons learned.”
Giving more insights, the national commissioner stated “The report showcases the election’s unparalleled diversity in party representation, demonstrating significant democratic progress.
“This election saw four political parties winning gubernatorial races, seven parties winning senatorial seats, eight in federal constituencies, and nine in state legislatures, illustrating a broad shift in political representation across Nigeria.
“The report underscores the pivotal role of technological advancements, particularly the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, in enhancing electoral integrity and reducing fraud.
“Furthermore, it addresses public concerns about the INEC Result Viewing portal, explaining the technical issues encountered during the upload of polling unit results for the presidential election.”
He added that other aspects covered in the report include logistics, security arrangements, staff recruitment and training, inclusivity measures, and the electoral framework,” he said.
Olumekun further stated that the commission would welcome feedback to inform future electoral reforms and improvements.
CJN To Swear In New Supreme Court Justices Monday
The newly-appointed 11 Justices of the Supreme Court will be sworn in on Monday, according to The PUNCH.
The justices are Jummai Sankey, Chidiebere Uwa, Chioma Nwosu-Iheme, Haruna Tsammani, Moore Adumein, Obande Ogbuinya, and Stephen Adah.
Others are Habeeb Abiru, Jamilu Yammama Tukur, Abubakar Sadiq Umar, and Mohammed Baba Idris
The National Assembly had on December 21, 2023, confirmed the elevation of the justices following President Bola Tinubu’s recommendation.
According to an invite sent to our correspondent on Friday, the Supreme Court’s Director of Information, Festus Akande, disclosed that the oath of office will be administered on the justices by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Olukayode Ariwoola.
He said, “The newly appointed 11 Justices of the Supreme Court will be sworn in by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola on Monday at 10.00 a.m. at the Main Courtroom of the Supreme Court.”
When the swearing-in of the elevated justices is done, the apex court will have the full complement of 21 justices, as stipulated by the Constitution
Akeredolu’s Widow Slams Critics As Ex-governor Is Buried In Ondo
The ancient town of Owo, Ondo State on Friday, played host to people from all walks of life who stormed the town to grace the final burial of the late former governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu.
Akeredolu, who passed away on Wednesday, December 27, 2023, during a protracted illness in a German hospital, at the age of 67, was laid to rest at the burial site in the community.
In line with the burial programme, the body of the former governor arrived in the state on Wednesday where a special court session was held in his honour after which the remains were taken to the Akure Township Stadium for a lying-in-state and commendation service.
On Friday, a funeral service was held at the St. Andrew’s Cathedral Anglican Church, Imola, Owo. The Vice President, Mallan Kashim Shettima and many dignitaries were in attendance.
The wife of the late Akeredolu, Betty, in her tribute, hit hard on the critics of her relationship with her late husband.
The former first lady said “It’s me, your adorable Betty. You just left me. Just like that! It hurts. Badly it hurts. Now alone to face all manners of mockery from the so-called friends and adversaries alike. Now alone. A beg o! Can an Amotekun generalissimo be a weakling? Mbanuu! It doesn’t add up nau. Haba!”
“Not a few lashed out that you (Akeredolu) were a weakling because you loved me. I don’t think so in their homes while growing up they saw their mothers trampled upon as doormats. By the way, do they know what love is?
“They copied the template and treated their wives as pieces of furniture that can be easily discarded as trash. In many instances, the subjugation was garnished with beatings while the community looked the other way and remained unperturbed by gender-based violence. Beaten up like punch bags.”
Speaking at the service, President Bola Tinubu, who was represented by the Vice President, described the deceased former governor as a fearless man who always stood by the truth.
“We are gathered here today to bid farewell to a remarkable soul, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu SAN, CON,” the President began, reflecting on the transience of life and the enduring impact of our choices. He is a fearless soldier for his people.”
“There was no point in life where his voice shook in telling his truth. He was a vastly intelligent man whose passion has created quite a wide vacuum beyond this community,” the President eulogised.
READ ALSO: Aiyedatiwa Replaces Five Akeredolu’s Aides
Similarly, the state Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa said his former boss always stood for good governance and the rule of law.
He stated, “You are all here because he stood for something: good governance and the rule of law. He means a lot to different people, and that is why he has been described in different words. He was a courageous leader, a fighter, and a warrior. How can we forget him so soon? It is not possible because he lives on.
“He used the instrument of governance to intervene in different sectors of the state, including education, health services, and infrastructural development and security, among others.”
Dignitaries at the burial ceremony include the Ondo State Governor Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa, the Governors of Oyo, Ogun, Lagos, Osun, Ekiti, Edo, Delta, Anambra and Benue States, Engnr Seyi Makinde, Dapo Abiodun, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Abiodun Oyebanji, Godwin Obaseki, Sheriff Oborevwori, Charles Soludo and Hyacinth Alia respectively and the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Alhaji Abdullahi Ganduje and host of others.
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