Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has criticized the rulings of Nigerian judges in electoral disputes, emphasizing that the decisions of three to five judges should not override the choices made by millions of voters in an election. Obasanjo condemned the concentration of such significant power in the hands of a small number of judges, deeming it “completely unacceptable,Daily Trust reports.
His comments were prompted by the recent judgments from the Court of Appeal regarding electoral disputes stemming from the 2023 elections in Nigeria. In the past week, the judges from the Court of Appeal issued rulings leading to the removal of three governors: Dauda Lawal of Zamfara State, Abba Kabir Yusuf in Kano, and Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State. These decisions have sparked widespread reactions, with criticism outweighing praise for the judiciary.
Obasanjo expressed his disapproval of what he termed “cathedral pronouncements” by the judges during a high-level consultation on Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy in Africa at the Green Resort Legacy, Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
He argued that regardless of the type of democracy or government system in place, the authority to overturn the decisions of millions of voters should not be concentrated in the hands of a few individuals. He acknowledged the challenge of finding a solution but insisted that the current situation is untenable, where a small panel of judges can make final decisions affecting the outcomes of elections that involved millions of voters.