The former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo has criticized the judgments of Nigerian judges on electoral disputes, contending that decisions made by millions of voters during an election should not be overturned by three to five judges.
All Nigeria Latest News reports that the former President described the powers vested in the hands of a few judges as “totally unacceptable.”
Obasanjo expressed his views in response to the ongoing judgments by the Court of Appeal concerning electoral disputes stemming from the 2023 elections in Nigeria.
In the past week, separate judgments from the Court of Appeal led to the removal of three governors—Dauda Lawal of Zamfara State, Abba Kabir Yusuf in Kano, and Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State.
The decisions have sparked reactions, with the judiciary receiving more criticism than praise.
During the high-level consultation on Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy in Africa at Green Resort Legacy, Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Obasanjo criticized what he referred to as “cathedral pronouncements” by the judges.
He said “I believe whatever form of democracy we have or whatever system of government we have, three or four men in the judiciary should not be able to overturn the decisions of millions that have voted. Now, we have to find a way to handle that. I don’t know what the way will be but, for me, I think it’s totally unacceptable that millions (of votes), maybe 10m on one side, maybe 9million on the other side. Then, you have five people sitting down, three of them agree, two disagree. And you come up and make cathedral pronouncements that cannot be changed, I believe that should not be accepted.
“How do we do it? I don’t know. But whatever form of democracy we have, we should look at how to handle this. If you say ‘go again for election,’ then, what happened to the previous election? I don’t know.
“So, I personally feel strongly about. It does not matter what you say about the judiciary, but in fact only five people or seven will sit down. If they are five, three may agree, two may not agree, and the decision of three will be final. All that you have done comes to the decision of three or decision of four.”