Osun Verdict: A travesty of justice, By Emmanuel Ogebe

Posted by News Express | 6 July 2019 | 1,241 times

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•Barrister Emmanuel Ogebe

The Supreme Court verdict on Osun State governorship election raises a number of fundamental questions that beg for deep dispassionate answers. How does this judgment measure up, considering the decision of the Supreme Court in the Dr Bukola Saraki’s case that an incompletely constituted Code of Conduct Tribunal was still competent to sit?

Secondly, why not order a retrial if for any reason the justices felt a fair trial was not afforded? Regardless of the time limitation set by the constitution, the court could have erred on the side of justice and democracy to order a retrial and deem it to be in order as all necessary processes were filed timeously.

Furthermore an intellectually dexterous court could have eliminated the ruling of the particular judge in question and resolved the matter on the strength of the other judges present.

The dissenting opinion of one judge cannot supersede the verdict of a panel, therefore questions regarding the verdict of one judge cannot and should not vitiate that of the panel.

We now have a country where a ghost Code of Conduct Tribunal can sit and write a mysterious judgment which the President quickly obeyed. Now we have a judgment by a real election tribunal which has discarded on speculation that a judge was absent. It is one thing when the executive violates their own constitution but when courts begin to doubt their own records, we are truly finished.

Sadly, following the rape of the judiciary by this government, it could only be expected that the resulting pregnancy would have a strange offspring of doubtful antecedents.

Here in the US when the 2000 presidential election challenge reached the Supreme Court, the court ordered that the case should go back to Florida courts for retrial at which point the candidate VP Al Gore conceded to the leading challenger George Bush. That was how the spirit of democracy was sustained.

This Supreme Court verdict reminds one of the bizarre France v Nigeria match where a penalty was awarded against Nigeria’s goalkeeper after France missed the first shot.

In this case a foul was called against a judge and APC given a win after they missed their shot.

The people of Osun State, the Nigerian legal system and, indeed, our entire democracy have been ill-served by this terrible travesty. We commend the dissenting Justices Akaahs and Galinje JJSC for their sensible, commonsensical approach to this matter. Future generations will be guided accordingly that not everyone subscribed to this claptrap.

Barrister Emmanuel Ogebe is of the US NIGERIA LAW GROUP, Washington, USA.


Source: News Express

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