CLEEN Foundation’s Executive Director, Mr. Gad Peter has opined that the Supreme Court was able to regain back the confidence of Nigerians by its own judgements thereby making it difficult for anyone to make a blanket statement against the judiciary in the 2023 Elections Petition pronouncements.
Peter said this in an interview with newsmen shortly after Public Presentation of the Policy Brief on the 2023 Election Petition Tribunal by CLEEN Foundation in collaboration with LEDAP and MacArthur held at Reiz Continental Hotel on Wednesday, 31st January, 2024 in Abuja.
“One of the biggest hope of Nigerians after the 2023 general elections was the judiciary with the hope that they were going to give them justice and address some of the concerns that people had with the electoral process.
“People felt that there were some areas that the electoral processes were not conducted properly and the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) made a number of promises that were left for the judiciary to interpret.
“Nigerians were worried around the issue of technicality, election matters and a clear definition of pre election issues, election issues and post election issues that need to be addressed.
“But at the end of the day, one of the most fundamental worries that people have is how does the judiciary itself enhances peace and stability.
“It’s my hope that before we move to the next circle elections, the judiciary will be there for the people and they would be more assertive.
“Again, beyond all of these issues and concerns that people have, people equally think that judiciary has to be protected because we think it’s over bearing influence of politicians on them.
“I hope that by the time we share this report and policy document and the government listens to us, together we I’ll partner in the review of electoral process and make it more acceptable and less persons will go to court.
“This is because when you see people go to court, it’s because people disagree. So these are some of the concerns that we hope this policy document will help to address.
On whether the judiciary was fair, transparent and independent in its electoral judgements, or not, he said, “basically, there were a lot of divided perceptions. There were those that were favoured in what the judiciary said and there were those that were strongly against it. It depends on who you’re talking to.
“But the most fundamental issue is that even when a lot of Nigerians disagreed with the Court of Appeal pronouncements, the Supreme Court was able to regain back the confidence of the people by its own judgements.
“So if you are unhappy with the Appeal Court judgements, you will applause the Supreme Court judgements.
“So it will be difficult to make a blanket statement against the judiciary”.
Presenting the findings by trained CLEEN Foundation election observers, the Director of Program, Mr. Salaudeen Hashim, applauded the Tribunal in a number of states where the CLEEN observers reported transparency.
The panelists during the unveiling of the policy guide included Justice Hafsatu Isah Bappah, High Court Judge Borno State; Hon. Oluwole Oke, Chairman House Committee on Judiciary; Nkiru Uzodi, Program Manager PLAC and Nkem Okereke, Program Officer PWAN.