By Ese Awhotu
As the 2019 elections come closer, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, has cautioned judges against desperate politicians.
He advised judges to be wary of the frolics of politicians as the nation matches towards the 2019 general elections.
Justice Onnoghen gave the advice while declaring open this year’s edition of the Annual Conference of Justices of Court of Appeal held in Abuja yesterday.
He warned judges against keeping company of politicians whom in their desperation to have their ways could destroy the hard earned reputation and integrity of the judiciary.
His words: “Let me remind us that our salvation remains in our hands; so in the approaching frenzied political activities leading to the 2019 general elections, let us continue to watch the company we keep.
“Watch the people we open our doors to lest we unwittingly open ourselves to ridicule and embarrassment as the politicians will do anything not necessarily legal, to have their way including destroying our hard earned reputation and integrity.
“I therefore say to all of us, be strong, courageous, fair but firm.
Stick to the constitutional provisions, the law and doctrine of precedents and you cannot go wrong.
“Even when you are wrongly accused, as we very much are, be patient and remain assured that ‘truth crushed to the earth shall rise again the eternal years of God are hers.’
“As you may be aware, the National Judicial Council at it’s just concluded meeting, approved the elevation of 14 Judges to the Court of Appeal to fill in vacancies that had existed hitherto in the Court.
“This will certainly help to reduce the work load for the Justices of the court, as well as help in your preparations as we approach election year in our country.
“Your level of preparation, coupled with the determination of Mr. President, Mohammadu Buhari, GCFR to bequeath to Nigeria a legacy of credible election process, will guarantee the peace and stability we all desire.”
Justice Onnoghen also kicked against corruption on the bench, even as he urged judges to respect the decisions of the higher courts.
“The fight against corruption must be holistic. Consequently, we must address those issues that tend to distract the Judicial Officer, as well as removing from our midst, undesirable persons of questionable character.”