Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana has lamented that Nigeria is the only country where the courts elect leaders and not the electorate.
Falana said this during the Nigerian Bar Association NBA, Ondo branch law week held at Ondo city, in Ondo state, on Wednesday, June 29.
He spoke on the topic “The role of the court in Electoral Process and the time bomb of section 84 (12) of the Electoral Acts, 2022.”
Also Read: Reps commences probe into NNPC fuel subsidy claim from 2017-2021
According to him, “Nigeria is the only country in the whole world where courts elect leaders. It is the electorate that elects leaders.
“Nigeria courts now elects and impose leaders on us. Under the current political dispensation; three governors were not elected by their people but were elected by the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
“The Governors of Bayelsa and Zamfara states lost the election. But the Supreme Court generously gave the decision that those who lost the election should be sworn in.
“No! There must be a rerun election. We must allow people to choose their leaders.
“In Rivers State, they voted for someone. But the Supreme Court said that the Rotimi Amaechi was not in the country on the day of the election and ruled in his favour. People must allow to choose their leaders.
“The Supreme Court must show good leadership by ensuring that the wishes of our people matter.”
Speaking on the roles of lawyers during election petition trials, Falana said tha;t ”On the roles of lawyers, we must begin to deal with ourselves. Only a few justices up there have the confidence and courage to call Senior Advocates to order. So, we must call ourselves to order in this country.
“We must now get to the stage where lawyers are referred to the disciplinary committee for discipline when it is obvious; particularly, the senior lawyers that are trying to ridicule the profession.
”I also appeal to our Judges not to allow INEC to congest our courts where it is unnecessary.
“Under the current Electoral Act, 84, 1, 2, 29, there shall be a primary election for all political parties. INEC shall monitor the election and what has INEC done now? INEC has started rigging the election. How can vote count when you’re imposing those who do not emerge through primary on the electorate. That is why I’m pleading with our judges to ask INEC to let us know their position on this matter before we can move forward.
“On our election petitions, I’m going to appeal to our judges to be technical. It is not a criminal matter. Our judges and lawyers must desist from taking frivolous petitions to the court, senior lawyers in particular.
“So let us as a Bar stand up to fix the maximum for an election petition. I can assure you that the election petitions in this country will reduce.”