‘Conflicting Judgement Bane of Nigeria Democracy’


Sylvester Idowu in Warri

A Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chief Sunny Onuesoke has condemned conflicting judgements by the judiciary arising from the recent elections warning that  the problem is threatening Nigeria’s nascent democracy.

Onuesoke who spoke to journalists over the weekend while on his way to a climate change conference in Lagos noted that conflicting judgments, especially by courts of co-ordinate jurisdiction at the High Court level, were not only creating problems in the electioneering process, but also creating uncertainty  in the nation’s growing democracy.

He argued  that conflicting judgments do not only confuse counsel and leads to uncertainty with regards to slum decision, it equally  impacted negatively on the public perception of  ability to guarantee unequivocal justice.

The PDP Chieftain reiterated that issue of conflicting judgments arising from pre-election and post-election cases has set Nigerian democracy backward.

He  observed  that a  case where one court in one judicial division give judgement  on a particular course of action only to be contradicted by another court of coordinate jurisdiction from another division or even within the same division on the same subject matter did not augur well for the development of Nigeria demoracy.

“Conflicting court orders are negatively affecting the consistency, neutrality, and public perception. There is therefore the urgent need to address the issue of conflicting judgments in order to engender certainty in the electoral process,” he advised.

He pointed out  that  lack of consequential orders by the courts after making findings on an issue and stating the position has compelled the electoral umpire,  Independent Electoral Commission (INEC)  to take a position relying on previous decisions of the court on the subject.

“This as in some cases,  made the Commission appears inconsistent and has also led to protracted litigation. Closely related to this is the issue of orders to maintain the status quo by the court without stating the exact status quo intended. This has given room to parties to misinterpret the order to soothe their purpose, thereby knowingly causing confusion and controversy in the polity,” he stated.

To resolve the issue, he suggested that  there should be productive   engagement between the Judiciary and INEC  for efficient and effective dispensation of justice on matters bordering on the electoral process.