From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin
A former President of Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami has said that disregard to due process by government functionaries has contributed in weakening Nigeria’s electoral process.
The former President of Court of Appeal stated this while delivering a lecture during the 2014 Justice Mustapha M.A. Akanbi Faculty of Law annual public lecture at University of Ilorin yesterday entitled: ‘2015 general elections and sustainable democracy: Judicial challenges and public expectations.’
Salami noted that “On their part, public officials have scant regard for the common good. All these have far reaching implications for good governance, accountability and sustainable development.
“In this context, thepopular expectation is that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should brace up for the challenges which the conduct of the 2015 elections will throw up,.
“We agree with the contention that with the country’s complex ethnic makeup, and the now bitter relations between the major religious, communities, Nigerians know that they live over a political sea of magma that could, at almost any time, erupt,”.
“Our judiciary must always be at the fore-front of the struggle for the enthronement of democratic tenets through its judgment and interpretation our laws.
“With the promulgation of Section 87 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), our courts now have jurisdiction over party primaries and more so in cases where there are two contending candidates claiming rightful nomination of their political parties.
“Therefore the courts must always be ready to assume jurisdiction over such matters as they are clearly justiciable. Times have indeed changes and the judiciary must recognize that”, he stated.