The President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, has charged the 85 newly sworn-in judges of election petition tribunals to decide cases based on the law and not what ought to be.
Justice Dongban-Mensem made the call on Friday in Abuja, while declaring open a one-day training on election petition tribunals organised for the 85 judges.
“As arbiters, our duty is to look at the matters dispassionately and decide the cases according to the law, look at the facts and apply the law as it is and not what it ought to be,” she said.
The president of the Appeal Court, urged the judges not to be discouraged by the lack of adequate appreciation for the work they do, but to continue to put in their best in service to the nation.
According to her, human nature will always challenge decisions until they are affirmed by a higher authority. She urged them to do their best because that is why the tribunals are created.
The appellate court president implored the judges to always remember the oath they took as it would guide them in the discharge of their duties.
Also speaking, Justice John Inyang-Okoro, a judge of the Supreme Court urged the judges to take the assignment seriously as elections were serious business in Nigeria.
He noted that politicians and their followers were very passionate about their elections and that was why the tribunals were set up to settle petitions that would emanate from the elections.
“The election petition tribunals are here to ensure that politicians and their supporters do not take laws into their hands.
“They have hope in the tribunals because they believe in the tribunals and that is why they do not resort to self-help after elections.”
“Adjudication is something that only God can do because only God sees the heart of men; so it is important to allow the grace of God to help you settle these disputes,” he added.
He also urged the judges to remain independent and read law reports to keep abreast of Court of Appeal and Supreme Court decisions on related issues and not allow politicians to influence their decisions.
Also speaking, the President of the National Industrial Court, Justice Benedict Kanyip, advised the tribunal judges not to ask for and not to collect anything from petitioners or their counsel.
He noted the need for the judges to keep their integrity intact, saying that they would see the good, the bad and the ugly side of hearing election petition tribunals.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, on Thursday, swore in the 85 judges for Edo and Ondo state election petition tribunals.
The judges would adjudicate on election petitions arising from the forthcoming governorship elections in the two states as well as the bye-elections scheduled by the Independent National Electoral Commission in other states.