‘Supreme Court’s verdict in Zamfara re-ignites hope in judiciary’
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Jibrin Okutepa, has accused electoral officials who compromised their stand with politicians to perpetrate illegality as the reason for the anomaly in Zanfara State in the first instance. While speaking with The Guardian on the Zamfara situation, Okutepa said there was need to put a proper check on INEC, just as he claimed that some legal practitioners had sighted two or three different sets of certified true copies of the same documents coming from the electoral umpire.He added that Nigerian politicians lack respect for the feelings of others, a situation, he said, made them to twist due process for their favour.
“But the Zamfara incident would teach our politicians some bitter lesson,” noting that the judiciary would always intervene in disputes arising from elections, warning if such interventions were abdicated, there would be anarchy in the country.
On the outcome of the judgment, the legal luminary said, “It was fantastic. It will impute sanity into insanity of the Nigerian political class who do not believe in the rule of law and due process. Even those who want to eat their cake and still have it, which is impossible, have been taught some lessons.
“So, I congratulate the Nigerian judiciary and the Supreme Court. I’m sure politicians will learn from the Zamfara case, if at all they will learn because this is not the first time that it is happening.”He said the time has come when the judiciary should use the necessary process and avoid the rigmarole of what they call due process. All things are being compromised in this country. We compromise criminality; we compromised iniquity and so on and so forth.”
In the same vein, resident pastor for House on the Rock, Benue State, Pastor Abel Oloko, also commended the judgment in Zanfara as a restoration of the faith of Nigerians, the common man in the judiciary. He said it was coming on the heels of a charade that happened a couple of days ago when the apex court justices gathered at a table at the presidential villa to eat dinner and wine and dine even with the president.
“I question the morality and the saneness of that gesture,” he said. Meanwhile, the national chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Victor Oye, said the judgment was expected, adding, “It was certain APC in Zamfara did not hold any legitimate primary in all categories of elective positions. So, it was a matter of time before they paid for the illegal and unconstitutional behaviour.”
He said the judiciary has given Nigerians cause to have faith that the future is bright, noting, “This judgment has re-ignited our hope in the Nigerian judiciary.”
Meanwhile, the preferred senator by APC leadership, Senator Ahmed Lawan, has allayed fears in some quarters that the Supreme Court verdict on Zamfara may alter the political equation in his emergence as Senate President. While speaking with reporters in Abuja, he maintained that the outcome of the Supreme Court verdict on the general election in Zamfara State would not affect his chances come June 11 when the 9th National Assembly would be inaugurated.
He said: “We have talked to 98 per cent of all the Senators-elect across all the political platforms of APC, PDP, and YPP and they are happy with my aspiration. So, it is not a question of number but it’s a question of getting to interact and to extract commitments of our colleagues. But I want to tell you that we are very comfortable; we are very confident that we have told our story to our colleagues because it’s a story of truth; it’s a story of struggle right from 1999 to make things better for the country.”
Lawal also faulted the notions held in certain quarters that the National Assembly would accede to every demand of the executive arm hook, line and sinker without any form of scrutiny when he mounts the saddle.