The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, has warned judges against closeness with politicians ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The CJN admonished judges to be wary of the politicians, who, according to him, were capable of destroying their reputations.
He said this while declaring open this year’s Annual Conference of Justices of Court of Appeal, in Abuja, adding, “soon the tempo of political activities will pick up.”
He said, “Let me remind us that our salvation remains in our hands; so in the approaching frenzied political activities leading to the 2019 general elections, let us continue to watch the company we keep, the people we open our doors to, lest we unwittingly open ourselves to ridicule and embarrassment as the politicians will do anything, not necessarily legal, to have their way, including destroying our hard-earned reputation and integrity.”
Onnoghen said he was desirous of leaving behind “a judiciary that has been returned to its glory as a noble and enviable institution in every sense of the word.
“Your level of preparation, coupled with the determination of Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari, to bequeath to Nigeria a legacy of credible election process , will guarantee the peace and stability we all desire.
“On judicial precedents as they relate to election and pre-election matters, I want to remind us that the Supreme Court has decided in a number of cases that the principles of judicial review such as Mandamus, Certiorari, and Prohibition etc do not apply because election and election-related matters, such as pre-election causes, are suis generis.
“There is an emerging trend whereby a party in a pre-election or election matter, after exhausting his remedies sometimes up to the Supreme Court still pursues a parallel cause of action under the guise of judicial review hoping that one of such parallel actions may succeed, thereby making the court to contradict itself, resulting in a great embarrassment to the system.
“I am saying these because soon the tempo of political activities will pick up and some lawyers will stop at nothing in their effort to outsmart the Bench; so be very careful and as I have always said, be on top of your game by mastering the principles of laws and facts relevant to the case or issues involved in the dispute so as not to allow legal practitioners to mislead you to the embarrassment of the judiciary.”