“For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.” 2 Timothy 4:3 NLT.
I have been a keen follower of the events and reactions that have trailed off the winning and losing of the 2023 elections in Nigeria, and particularly in Plateau State since February.
I am compelled to share my opinion on the ongoing conversation regarding decisions of the Tribunals and Appeal courts.
- Many of our people feel that after election’s results are declared, the losers should just accept the result hook, line and sinker without challenging same in court. They would argue that challenging an election in court is going against the will of God. This is not true and should not be believed by reasonable people at all. All contestants in elections have the right to go to court when dissatisfied with the outcome. Except if they have a generally acceptable platform for settlement, negotiations or personal ground to let go. In fact, the person who goes to court to challenge any election should be appreciated for not taking the law into his hands but choose to use the civil way of ventilating grievances.
- It does not matter whether you win election by popular votes or not, whatever the decision of the court concerning the result challenged should be respected because the process of election start with voters registration. The rigging, abuse of process and falsehood starts at that point to final result and court judgments as the case may be. The courts also provide opportunity for appeal to higher courts if need be.
- Again, at appeal, the law has been made in a way that more than one judge seats on the appeal. And whatever becomes their position is taken as the law. Except, if there is another opening for further appeal to the highest. It’s generally accepted that once the highest court has decided on a particular matter, a dissatisfied litigant ends the appeal to the almighty God.
- As a matter of practice, once a matter is in court, litigants are not supposed to discuss the matter in public or building any public opinions on the case. It is surprising that that has been so grossly abused this days. What discussants do now is to say; “with due respect…”then their public ruling on the matter.
- For a practitioner or public commentator to give informed opinion on a matter, the person needs to show evidence of reading and understanding well the whole content of the judgments, related judgements and relevant laws.
- I personally have hope in the Judicial system of Nigeria, despite accusations against the system. I have seen and worked with justices that are trustworthy, reliable and credible. Yet, I have heard litigants casting aspersions on some of their decisions.
- Blackmailing Judges, inciting violence against them and opponent without concrete evidence is not only sad but ungodly. If you have any suspicion of corruption against the judge, you petition the judge with evidence to show.
- Agreed that some judges might have been compromised on some cases, but the way lawyers and the public talk about buying and selling of judges and judgments this days is unbecoming of reasonable commentators and legal practitioners. It has become like what we use to do in football, “any game loss must be as a result of referee compromise”
- I have followed carefully that analysing judicial decision in our claims has become like “Man-U and Arsenal football club membership opinions”. Club members want to hear only opinions from their team members even if it’s misleading, misrepresenting and not correct.
- The media outfits are not left out in this “football club like” analysis of legal opinions. Lots of media ( both new and traditional) are loosing credibility for being selective on which expert opinion they want their gullible listeners or readers to have. This has damaged the psychy of sincere truth seekers. Any sensitive station that cherish her followers should present truthful and balanced opinion to them by bringing two experts with different opinions and allowing listeners to choose who to believe, or at best create separate times for two experts with different opinions.
- It is worrisome to hear litigants and ignorant public celebrating a judge or judgement today for a favorable decision and abusing the same body when decision goes contrary.
- I have watched mischievous politicians celebrating the decision of court favoring their party in other states of the federation but yet feeling theirs is not correct because such decisions are against them.
- I have heard lawyers, litigants and Public commentators criticizing very senior Counsel handling sensitive cases with facts and figures ending up misleading those counting on their opinions.
- At the moment, we do not have saint Judges handling any case in Nigeria yet, mostly the so called corrupt judges are bribed or blackmailed by contenders who want the cases to favor them. Hence, the person bribing and the one been bribed are all liable. The one that bribed yesterday and the one bribing today are also culpable.
- A wise and sincere person should not be heard celebrating any judgement and rejecting another on baseless grounds. The joy of legal practice is in the independent opinion of judges.
- Judicial decisions are like football referees decisions; the players and referees are the ones in the field watching step by step play of the match. They are specially trained and recruited for the job. Players know the rules of the game well and will most time want their supporters to see them as perfect when they know deep inside them their errors and imperfections. Your opinion as spectator ends at the side of the field.
- While we pray and work for a more dependable judicial system in Nigeria, It is my sincere opinion that peace lovers and sincere truth seekers should have faith in the judiciary because for now there is no alternative except if you want to appoint the judges to preside over the cases you are interested or you preside over your cases yourself.
- Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion but do not impose your opinion on everyone and insisting on challenging the system that we are all benefiting from as citizens. Especially when the name of God is involved.
- If you are a true believer in God, anything you have convincingly prayed for, allow God to take His place. The whipping of sentiments, incitement, resistance and resentment we exhibits as people is ungodly to say the least.
We must respect the system put in place and ensure its functionality or we give way to lawlessness which does no one any good.
One thing I am sure of is the love of God for his children regardless of their background, faith or affiliations. God’s answers come in different ways and must not favor at all times.
Embedded in our challenges is the Will of God.
What is going to be is going to be!
Kwamkur Samuel Vondip
26th October, 2023.