As election activities gain momentum, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, has sworn in members of the Election Petition Tribunal ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The newly sworn-in members took their oath of office on Monday in Abuja at the Andrews Obaseki Auditorium of the National Judicial Institute (NJI).
Members of the tribunal, which consists of over 300 were set up to adjudicate over petitions that may arise in the conduct of an election.
They were admonished by the CJN to handle their tasks with utmost seriousness as any form of judicial recklessness will not be condoned.
“Your lordships should count yourselves worthy to be so entrusted with this humongous responsibility of deciding the fate of those that would be contesting elections into various political offices in the country in 2023.
“You are not known to possess some supernatural powers to perform wonders, I can confidently assure you that society will certainly expect the impossible from you as members of Election Petition Tribunals.
“Therefore, I will not condone any act of recklessness, abuse of power and public trust. This is a rare privilege and you must give a good account of yourselves.”
The CJN added, “There is virtually nothing that has not been seen or heard before, but you should be ready to see and hear more, especially as you begin to adjudicate on election matters in 2023.
“Even though I rejoice with you on this very important appointment, I still sympathise with you for the many troubles, inconveniences, verbal assaults, and all sorts of uncomplimentary remarks that will be made about you by various litigants.
He noted that trust is a burden but judicial officers must discharge it with utmost sincerity, honesty and transparency because conscience is an open wound healed only by the truth.
“You must rise and operate above every sentiment that might play out in the course of your adjudication in the various tribunals.
“There is no doubt that temptations, tribulations, intimidations and even sheer blackmails may be unleashed on you; but as thoroughbred Judicial Officers, you must gird your loins to rise above them and do what will earn you accolades from your Creator, and also from the court of public opinion.
“There is no mountain too high to scale; and there is no goal too difficult to achieve as far as you have firmly resolved to attain greater heights in life,” Ariwoola said.
He warned them that all eyes are on them and that they should therefore always remember that their conduct will be publicly dissected and thoroughly scrutinised.
“Do what is right in our law books and you will have your names etched in gold.
“Do what is at variance with your conscience and you will get a scar that will terminally dent your ascension to greater heights in life.
“Be guided by good conscience and enjoy the best that the Nigerian Judiciary can offer you,’’ he said.