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Bayelsa Polls And Judicial Intervention

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ElevateNews takes a look at the judicial intervention in the Bayelsa election.

Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa has expressed his displeasure with the intervention of the judiciary in Nigerian elections as the Bayelsa and Kogi States go into the gubernatorial election to choose new governors.

Adegboruwa took to his facebook page on Thursday to bemoan the overbearing influence of the judiciary on how people choose their leaders and how some politicians arbitrarily commit contempt against the authorities of the court in the name of choosing a candidate for a political party.

As he put it, “How I wish the judiciary would be more cautious in matters of elections. The issue of who represents a party in an election or the capacity of a candidate to participate in an election should be left for the political parties.”

He said, “I’m worried with the intervention of the courts in matters that should ordinarily be the internal affairs of the political parties. These cases expose the judiciary unduly and so they should be avoided.

Elections to determine the Governor of a State should not be based on technicalities of judicial disqualification. Let the people choose their leaders.

I think Adegboruwa is making a lot of sense here in that I am unable to agree with the decision of the Federal High Court in Yenagoa that APC has no candidate in the forthcoming governorship elections. The report that the Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt has issued a stay of execution order could not be confirmed at the time the Minister of State for Petroleum, an APC Chief, Timpre Silva spoke about the stay of execution. To me, the information only came from interested parties (Timipre Sylva and David Lyon).

Not until Friday, it was not clear whether APC governorship candidate would participate in the election. But thank God, the candidate was eventually cleared by the Federal High Court in Port Hacourt, Rivers State.

Earlier, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi told me that the electoral body has not received any order from the Court of Appeal. He also clarified that the Federal High Court judgment didn’t give any order excluding APC from the election. According to him, the Judge disqualified the candidate, David Lyon and not the party. He said that since APC wasn’t disqualified, it will be on the ballot on Saturday. He told me that the ballot papers contain acronyms and logos of political parties and not the names and photographs of candidates. So, the bottom line is that APC will be on the ballot on Saturday, according to the spokesman of the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi.

Meanwhile, Adegboruwa carpets the Hon Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr Timipriye Silva for describing a sitting Judge of the Federal High Court, Yenagoa Division, Hon Justice Ekwo as a “bad egg that deserves to be flushed out of the judiciary”.

“I have read earlier in the day that on another radio programme, he variously described her as a “harlot”.

Mr Timipriye Silva is not a party to the case pending before the court and he is not a lawyer to any of the parties. Even at that, it is uncouth and undignified for a serving Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to descend so low in employing gutter language against a sitting judge.

It is the greatest act of contempt against the authority and integrity of the judiciary for a citizen to describe a judicial officer as a bad egg or a harlot, all because a judgment was delivered by the said Judge which is considered unfavourable and for which an appeal has already been filed.

We cannot sit by and watch this flagrant desecration of the temple of justice by people who should serve as role models for others.

I, therefore, urge the Nigerian Bar Association, the National Judicial Council and the Hon Chief Justice of Nigeria, to proceed against Mr Timipriye Silva urgently, until such a time that he is able to purge himself of the contempt brazenly committed against His Lordship, in the due exercise of a judicial function.”

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