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Makarfi warns against rulings capable of truncating elections



FORMER Governor of Kaduna State and Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Mohammed Makarfi, has urged the judiciary to be mindful of court judgments that could throw the forthcoming general elections into crisis and derail the nation’s democracy.

   Makarfi, speaking Sunday in Kaduna on the preparation by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Nigerians for the rescheduled elections, said that some judgments by the courts might affect the conduct of successful, free and fair polls.

   He urged the courts to beware of some selfish and unpatriotic Nigerians, who might attempt to use the judiciary to undermine the nation’s democracy, adding: “I believe in law and order, and the constitution makes it mandatory that elections hold. 

   “I believe that all hands should be on deck to make sure that there are free, fair and credible elections on the scheduled dates. I would want to assume that both INEC and other supporting agencies are cooperating and collaborating to make sure that we see a very high standard of elections conducted in this country.”

   He urged INEC to adhered strictly to the Electoral Act because “all the investment that has been made towards the conduct of this general election should yield something positive. It should be one man, one vote, and we should look at the operational modalities and ensure that elections do endure late into the night.

   “For example, I don’t know why, particularly with the electronic accreditation, you have to wait for some hours before you queue again and vote. That is an unnecessarily lengthy election time. It would have been better that as you get accredited, you vote and go out of the area.

   “I don’t know the reason behind INEC’s decision to accredit voters and ask them to come back and be on the queue for voting. Apart from wasting a lot of time, it gives room for a lot of things to happen. If not for this election, INEC should look into this issue and correct it in future elections.”

   He added: “We must not create any situation such that the elections would not hold, reader machines or not. The courts should help these elections by avoiding judgments that would throw total confusion in the electoral process, because we all have a stake in this country.

   “If you create total confusion and calamity, nobody will be immune from the consequences. So, we must all do our jobs diligently for the good of the generality of Nigerians.”

   Stressing that he was not tying his argument on the recent court decision ordering INEC to register a party, Makarfi remarked that it is not the only case before the courts, however, “this and any other case that may go before the courts must put the peace and stability of Nigeria foremost and avoid judgments that are likely to cause serious crisis and confusion in the country.” 

   According to him, “developing democracies tend to have constitutional courts, which are meant to avoid having conflicting judgments on same issues. I can now understand the wisdom behind some people calling for the creation of constitutional courts. 

   “As it is now, the road is wide open for people to take any kind of electoral matter to any court and it is an opportunity for some few people that may not mean well for this country to throw the country into confusion and crisis.”

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