The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Olukayode Ariwoola on Thursday urged judges serving in the election tribunals to submit themselves to the sanctity of the rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution in the discharge of their judicial functions.
Justice Ariwoola gave the admonitions in Abuja while swearing in 39 additional judges to serve the National Assembly Election Tribunals and Governorship/Assembly Election Petition Tribunals across the country that are now overwhelmed by the large numbers of petitions from the 2023 elections .
Recall that Justice Ariwoola had on November 7, 2022 sworn in 307 judges currently serving at the various election petition tribunals across the country.
It behooves you to willingly submit yourselves to the sanctity of the rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution in the discharge of your judicial functions.
“It is the general belief that elections held when the rule of law is too fragile,seldom lead to lasting democratic governance, you are enjoined to always strike a balance between justice and rule of law on this critical national assignment,” he said.
According to him ” rule of delayed is lasting peace denied because Justice is a handmaiden of true peace.”
“We need this in Nigeria more than ever before. The trumpet must first sound from the temple of justice: hence we put you forward as champions of this noble cause and let your decisions be deeply rooted in law and not sentiments or public opinion,” he said.
The CJN noted that work at election tribunals are an enormous national assignment that will literally put the contents of judges conscience to test.
He said that “no amount of homily can convey the enormity of this task.But suffice to say that you (the judges) are already initiating an interaction with history.”
According to him, “whatever action or inaction you exhibit today will serve as your testament in the annals of the Nigerian history.”
He said he knew that as judicial officers , they may have,one way or the other trodden this somewhat dreadful terrains, but must against all odds, “rise above the murky waters of failure and infamy.”
CJN Ariwoola said the onus is on the appointee judges to keep aloft the banner of honesty and integrity that the judiciary has paintakingly hoisted over the years, adding that they should do everything within their ability to justify the confidence reposed on them by the appointment.
He also warned that the judges will be exposed to different forms of temptations and even blackmail, but advice them to stick to their oaths of office because such temptations are test of their strength of character,honesty and integrity.
“You should always be mindful of this oath you have just taken because it now stands as an uncompromising witness between you and your creator,” he said.