Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has voiced his criticism of the recent judgments by Nigerian judges on electoral disputes, expressing concern over the authority vested in a few judges to overturn decisions made by millions of voters during elections.
Obasanjo labeled the powers concentrated in the hands of a small group of judges as “totally unacceptable” and called for a reevaluation of the system.
Speaking at the high-level consultation on Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy in Africa at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Obasanjo faulted what he referred to as “cathedral pronouncements” by judges. He emphasized the need to address the situation where a handful of judges could nullify the decisions of millions of voters.
“I believe whatever form of democracy we have or whatever system of government we have, three or four men in the judiciary should not be able to overturn the decisions of millions that have voted,” Obasanjo stated. “It’s totally unacceptable that millions (of votes), maybe 10m on one side, maybe 9 million on the other side. Then, you have five people sitting down, three of them agree, two disagree. And you come up and make cathedral pronouncements that cannot be changed; I believe that should not be accepted.”
Obasanjo expressed uncertainty about the solution to this issue but stressed the importance of addressing it. He questioned the implications of calling for a new election when millions had already voted in the previous one.
“So, I personally feel strongly about it. It does not matter what you say about the judiciary, but, in fact, only five people or seven will sit down. If they are five, three may agree, two may not agree, and the decision of three will be final. All that you have done comes to the decision of three or decision of four,” he concluded.