Electorate Not Judges Should Decide Election Winners, Mutfwang, Falana Insist

Electorate Not Judges Should Decide Election Winners, Mutfwang, Falana Insist

Sunday Aborisade in Abuja

The Governor of Plateau State, Caleb Mutfwang and a Human  Rights activist, Femi Falana, yesterday, in Abuja, said Nigeria must ensure that the real winners of elections emerge before swearing-in, adding that the people and not judges should decide the winners.
They spoke separately at the Haske Satumari Foundation annual colloquium, themed: “Electoral And Judicial Reforms: The Imperatives on Nigeria’s Democracy, Governance, Leadership and its selection processes.”

Mutfwang said since leadership has become crucial, it would be unfashionable to allow the judges and lawyers to decide the true winner of election.
He said, “Our leadership recruitment is a fraud. Some of us get into positions of leadership simply by the mercy of God. Not because of fat Bank account.
“We must develop rules that are clear and transparent. Our process is far from being transparent. To strengthen democracy, electoral reform is important.
“Also, comprehensive judicial reforms became expedient because every election circle had its legal regime. For the judiciary, there is an urgent need to safeguards its independence and integrity. What we witnessed is partisan interference.”

Mutfwang said even professors of law became confused with the legal jurisprudence that arose from the judgment that came out of the 2023 election petitions,  
He said, “Both the lawyers and the judges must up their game. Time has come when lawyers must tell their clients “you have a bad case. Judges and lawyers should not determine who wins the election.”
Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said some lawyers in Nigeria deliberately sabotaged the system, and insisted that Nigeria must decide not to allow lawyers and judges to decide who was an elected representative.

“Electoral system is good. What we should remove is the intervention of the court. Let’s make the electoral process transparent, transmit the results from the polling unit to the server and insist on electronic transmission.
“If you must know, judges are not suited to determine, who wins election. Because they were not there.
“The winner should be determined by the electorate and not judges,” Falana reiterated, adding that Nigeria has the most election cases in the world.
“Pre-election matters should be decided before the election. All pre-election matters should be concluded before swearing-in.”

Former President Goodluck Jonathan who declared the event open, said Nigeria must move forward through open conversation at the Haske Satumari Foundation Colloquium.
Represented at the occasion by his former deputy, Namadi Sambo, Jonathan said he hoped that the outcome of the colloquium would help in the development of Nigeria.
The Mayor of Entebbe in Uganda, Facrice Rulinda, said Africa must look at things that can work for its democracy adding that even in the US, not everybody elects their president.

“In Africa, we talk about one man, one vote. Civic education is lacking. The people must know that their vote is their voice, so they should not sell it,” Rulinda said, adding that only action would lead to African integration.
The Convener of the colloquium and founder of the Haske Satumari Foundation, Kudla Satumari, said the conversation would help in shaping political discussion in Nigeria as the country prepares to amend the constitution and the electoral act.

“Some of the discussions will be valid in the electoral amendment process. The keynote speakers made valid points. We must ensure that all pre elections causes are settled before the election. We must ensure that all cases are concluded before swearing in.
“Also, we must ensure that the Justice Uwais panel report is implemented. All election cases should be concluded before the swearing in. Judges should not determine the true winner of an election,” Satumari added.

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