2015 elections: Judges should be ready to overturn rigged elections- Amaechi

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Rivers state Governor, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi has predicted that 2015 elections may be similar to that of NGF as he called on the Nigerian judiciary to get ready to receive another fall out in 2015.

He made the call during a symposium on “Review of the 1999 Constitution and its impact on the much-needed judicial reforms”, organized by a group named – the Rule of Law Foundation.

 The Governor who expressed worry over the turn out of the NGF election beaconed on the judiciary to get ready to correct the wrongs that may bedevil the 2015 election.

He said: “Let us put it on record that the way things are going, we should be careful 2015 does not end in this manner, where people will win democratic election and those in power will not accept the result of a free and fair election.”

“My lords, be prepared because we shall soon be coming to your court. We must defend democracy. We must defend Nigeria because we don’t have any other country,” he added.

Amaechi who denied the claim by Plateau state Governor, Jonah Jang that he did not vote during the NGF election said Governor Jang was one of the first people to vote during the election.

The Governor discredited the claim by Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom and his Plateau state counterpart that over 19 Governors endorsed Jang ever before the election.

Governor Amaechi who condemned the Nigerian Bar Association´s neutral stance on the NGF election, also said that anybody who supports Governor Jang after he lost the election is not a democrat.

He however, called on the people to get ready to defend their votes come year 2015.

Speaking during the programme, the senator representing Enugu North and chairman senate committee on constitution review, Senator Ike Ekweremadu said the review would not accommodate referendum since the constitution did not provide for such.

Senator Ekweremadu who said the proposal for judicial reform submitted by former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Dahiru Musdapher was being considered also added that the Senate Committee on the review of the 1999 constitution had presented a bill and report on proposed amendments to the Senate for consideration.

 According to him, the areas to be given immediate attention include; separation of the office of the Attorney General (AG) of the Federation from that of the Minister of Justice; Seven years tenure for Attorney General; financial autonomy for the AG as funds for the office will be made from the Consolidated Revenue Fund; Conferment of powers on the AG to investigate certain crimes and removal of the CJN and other serving judicial officers as members of the Federal Judicial Service Commission.

He further stated that not everything affecting the judiciary requires amendment.

His words: “It is not for lack of laws that some anti-corruption and other serious criminal cases involving the high and mighty have remained stagnant.”

While giving his remarks, former CJN Musdapher who is also the coordinator of the Rule of Law Development Foundation, alluded to the fact that corruption has permeated the fabrics of the nation´s judiciary also condemned the worrisome state of impunity in the Nigerian judiciary.

He stated that there was a disconnect between the people and the judiciary which might have led to the breakdown of law in the North East.

Justice Musdapher who commended the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Mukhtar, for her efforts at reforming the judiciary also suggested that in order to salvage the Nigerian judiciary system, senior lawyers should be appointed judges.

Also in the programme were two former Chief Justices of Nigeria, Mohammadu Uwais and Dahiru Musdapher, Justice Sylvester Nguta, former Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) President Joseph Daudu and Ekiti State Attorney General Wale Fapohunda.

 

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