Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo has expressed his displeasure with the situation where a handful of judges can annul the choices of millions of voters during elections.
Obasanjo said that the powers given to a few judges to do so were “totally unacceptable.”
The ex-President was commenting on the Court of Appeal rulings on disputes from the 2023 elections in Nigeria.
Recently, three governors were removed from office in separate rulings delivered by the judges of the Court of Appeal.
The affected governors are Dauda Lawal of Zamfara State, Abba Kabir Yusuf of Kano State, and Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State.
The rulings have triggered reactions from Nigerians who said they have lost faith in the judiciary, especially when the affected governors are of the opposition parties.
Speaking at the high-level consultation on Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy in Africa held at the Green Resort Legacy, Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Ogun State, the ex-President criticised what he called “cathedral pronouncements” by the judges.
Obasanjo stated: “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. Now, we have to find a way to handle that. I don’t know what the way will be, but, for me, I think it’s totally unacceptable that there are millions of votes—maybe 10 million on one side, maybe 9 million on the other side. Then, you have five people sitting down; three of them agree, and two disagree. And you come up and make cathedral pronouncements that cannot be changed. I believe that should not be accepted.
“How do we do it? I don’t know. But whatever form of democracy we have, we should look at how to handle this. If you say ‘go again for the election,’ then what happened to the previous election will repeat itself. I don’t know.
“So, I personally feel strongly about It does not matter what you say about the judiciary, but in fact, only five people or seven will sit down. If there are five, three may agree, two may not agree, and the decision of the three will be final. All that you have done comes to the decision of three or four.