The 2023 presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Prince Adewole Adebayo, has urged the immediate implementation of electoral reforms aimed at ensuring that no election winner takes office until all pending court cases against them are resolved,leadership report.
Adebayo criticized Nigerian politicians for prioritizing power over justice in election-related matters. He commended the Supreme Court for expeditiously handling presidential election appeals by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and the Labour Party (LP) candidate, Peter Obi. However, he stressed that the judiciary could further improve by ensuring that all election-related disputes are settled before any candidate assumes office to prevent undue advantages.
Adebayo expressed concern that tension often arises due to the court’s inability to deliver what politicians desire. He emphasized that politicians primarily seek favorable judgments leading to power, whereas the court’s role is to provide justice.
Regarding the Supreme Court’s focus on “technicalities” in cases, Adebayo highlighted three critical factors: for non-lawyers, legal matters often appear technical; election cases are unique and don’t strictly follow conventional legal procedures, given the technical nature of elections; and the case in question was centered on technicalities rather than substantive claims.
Adebayo also criticized the current appointment process for Court of Appeal and Supreme Court justices, where the President has the final say. He questioned the fairness of the National Judicial Council (NJC) only making recommendations, as the President can choose to accept or reject them. Adebayo pointed out that, according to the constitution, the President’s appointment authority grants him significant power, while the judiciary has limited influence if it disagrees with the President’s choices.