Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad, has urged chairmen and members of election petition tribunals that would handle cases emanating from the 2019 general elections to be guided by the rule of law and not sentiments.
Muhammad, who made the appeal yesterday at the swearing-in ceremony of 17 chairmen and members of the panel, stated that judicious adjudication of electoral matters goes a long way in determining peace in the country.
The Acting CJN, who was assisted by seven other justices of the Supreme Court to administer the oath of office on the panelists, noted that the task before the panel was an onerous one that would impact heavily on the judiciary and nation such that they could not afford to fail.
His words: “It is the general belief that elections held when the rule of law is fragile, seldom lead to lasting democratic governance. You are enjoined to always strike a balance between justice and rule of law, as you embark on this critical national assignment.
“As you all know, the rule of law 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.“By virtue of this oath, you are now armed with the power to adjudicate on electoral disputes and take decisions in accordance with your convictions, which must be deeply rooted in law and not sentiments or public opinion.”
Muhammad, therefore, charged them to submit themselves to the sanctity of rule of law and constitutional supremacy in the discharge of their judicial functions, adding that their participation in the tribunals was not by accident but God’s design.However, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev. Justin Welby, yesterday assured Nigerians of prayers from other countries of the world towards a peaceful and fair election.