The Chief Justice of Nigeria CJN, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola has warmed judges billed to adjudicate on the 2023 general election disputes to act within the ambit of law or have themselves to blame for any proven infraction on laid down rules.
He warned that anything short of conducting themselves within the law would place them on a collision course with history and God.
The CJN issued the warning on Monday in Abuja while inaugurating members of Election Petition Tribunals for the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
Justice Ariwoola said as the Chief Justice of the country, he would not condone any act of recklessness, abuse of power and public trust from any of the Tribunal members.
The CJN said, “Trust is a burden and you must discharge it with utmost sincerity, honesty and transparency because conscience is an open wound healed only by truth. You must rise and operate above every sentiment that might play out in the course of your adjudication in the various tribunals.
“There is no doubt that temptations, tribulations, intimidations and even sheer blackmail may be unleashed on you but as thoroughbred Judicial Officers, you must gird your loins to rise above them and do what will earn you accolades from your creator and also from the court of public opinions.
“There is no mountain too high to scale, and there is no goal too difficult to achieve as far as you have firmly resolved to attain higher heights in life. All eyes are on Your Lordships and always remember that your conduct will be publicly dissected and thoroughly scrutinized.
“Do what is right in our law books and you will have your names etched in gold. Do what is at variance with your conscience and you will get a scar that will terminally dent your ascension to a higher height in life.
“Be guided by good conscience and enjoy the best that the Nigerian Judiciary can offer you.
Justice Ariwoola explained that the oath he administered to them is a rare privilege and must give a good account of themselves.
“This is a mandatory exercise required to tune the minds of all Judicial Officers to the dictates of the Constitution and good conscience.
“This is not an undertaken to be handled with levity. It is a solemn pledge between Your Lordships and your creator.
“For being privileged to be found worthy to serve in these tribunals, Your Lordships are expected to conduct your affairs within the ambit of the law and the oath that has just been administered on you.
“You must have heard different admonitions on how to be upright and always live above reproach. I can confidently tell you that this is a weighty undertaking you have just signed before the Almighty God.
“I am saying this because, as the Chief Justice of Nigeria, I will not condone any act of recklessness, abuse of power and public trust. This is a rare privilege and Your Lordships must give a good account of yourselves.
“Your Lordships should count yourselves worthy to be so entrusted with this humongous responsibility of deciding the fate of those that would be contesting elections into various political offices in the country in 2023.
”Though Judicial Officers are not known to possess some supernatural powers to perform wonders, I can confidently assure you that the society in which you operate will certainly expect the impossible from you as members of Election Petition Tribunals.
”There is virtually nothing that has not been seen or heard before, but you should be ready to see and hear more, especially as you begin to adjudicate on election matters in 2023.
”Even though I rejoice with you on this very important appointment, I still sympathize with you for the many troubles, inconveniences, verbal assaults and all sorts of uncomplimentary remarks that will be made about you by various litigants in the course of your adjudication; especially if your conscience is not controlling your conduct.
”We are all humans, no doubt, but you display the humanism in you by doing those extraordinary things that people would ordinarily say you cannot do.
“That is what distinguishes those with integrity and passion for success from those with unenviable pedigree and dysfunctional moral compass”, the CJN said.