Edo, Ondo Guber: CJN Reads Riot Act to Tribunal Judges

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Justice Ibrahim Muhammad

By Alex Enumah

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, on Thursday warned judges that will adjudicate on petitions that may likely emanate from the forthcoming elections in Edo and Ondo States and from other by-elections across the country against acts of recklessness and abuse of power.

The CJN, who noted that it is not the first time the judges will be taking oath, said the task before them is a strategic national assignment that has to do with, “deciding the fate of those who would be contesting the highest political offices in Edo and Ondo States respectively and some other political offices in other states by virtue of the forthcoming elections”.

While admonishing them to dispense justice with the fear of God and in line with the oath of office and the law, Muhammad warned that he will not tolerate any conduct of indiscipline or abuse of public trust.

“We have just administered oath on the members of election petition tribunals for the forthcoming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States as well as other by-elections across the country. This should not be taken as one of those ceremonies merely required to fulfill set procedures. It is a solemn pledge between you and your creator.

“You are expected to conduct your affairs within the ambit of the law and the oath that has just been administered on you, as anything short of that will place you on the wrong side of history and God will ask you the questions that you may not be confident enough to answer,” he said.

“I can confidently tell you that this is a weighty undertaking you have just signed before the almighty God. I am saying this because as the Chief Justice of Nigeria, I will not condone any act of recklessness, abuse of power and public trust.

“This is a rare opportunity and you must give a good account of yourselves.

“You should count yourselves worthy to be so entrusted with this humongous responsibility of deciding the fate of those who would be contesting the highest political offices in Edo and Ondo States respectively and some other political offices in other states by virtue of the forthcoming elections,” he added.

The CJN, while stating that trust is a burden, urged the judges to discharge their duties with utmost sincerity, honesty and transparency.

He further charged them to be guided by the law and not be swayed by every sentiment that might play out in the course of their adjudication in the tribunal.

“There is no doubt that temptations, tribulations, intimidations and even sheer blackmails may be unleashed on you but as thoroughbred judicial officers, you must guide your loins to rise above all and do what will earn you accolades in the court of public opinions.

“All eyes are on you and always remember that your conduct will be publicly dissected and thoroughly scrutinized. Do what is right in our law books and you will have your names etched in gold. Do what is at variance with your conscience and you will get a scar that will terminally dent your ascension to higher height in life.

“Be guided by good conscience and enjoy the best that the Nigerian Judiciary can offer you,” he said.