Chieftain of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Sunny Onuesoke, has ascribed the problem bedeviling Nigeria nascent democracy to conflicting judgement by the judiciary.
Onuesoke, who spoke to journalists at Benin airport, Edo state, on Saturday on his way to a climate change conference in Lagos, said conflicting judgments, especially by courts of co-ordinate jurisdiction at the High Court level are not only creating problems in the electioneering process, it is also creating uncertainty in the in Nigeria’s growing democracy.
He argued that conflicting judgments do not only confuse counsel and leads to uncertainty with regards to slum decision, it equally impacts negatively on the public perception of the ability to guarantee unequivocal justice.
The PDP chieftain reiterated that issue of conflicting judgments arising from pre-election and post-election cases has set Nigerian democracy backward.
He added that a case where one court in one judicial division may give judgement on a particular course of action only to be contradicted by another court of coordinate jurisdiction from another division or even within the same division on the same subject matter did not augur well for the development of Nigeria demoracy.
“Conflicting court orders are negatively affecting the consistency, neutrality, and public perception of the courts. There is therefore the urgent need to address the issue of conflicting judgments in order to engender certainty in the electoral process,” he advised.
He pointed out that lack of consequential orders by the courts after making findings on an issue and stating the position has compelled the electoral umpire, Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to take a position relying on previous decisions of the court on the subject.
“This has, in some cases, made the commission appear inconsistent and has also led to protracted litigations.
“Cosely related to this is the issue of orders to maintain the status quo by the court without stating the exact status quo intended. This has given room to parties to misinterpret the order to soothe their purpose, thereby knowingly causing confusion and controversy in the polity,” he stated.
To resolve the issue, he suggested that there should be productive engagement between the judiciary and INEC for efficient and effective dispensation of justice on matters bordering on the electoral process.