By Patience Aliyu
A group, the Northern Initiative for Peace and Economic Development (NIPED), has called on the judges of the Supreme Court to be fair and transparent in handling all election cases brought before them.
Mr Abel Jilemsam, Convener of the group made the call in a news conference on Tuesday in Jos.
Jilemsam particularly advised the judges of the apex court to critically look into the appeals challenging the judgments of the Appeal Court on governorship elections in Plateau, Kano and Zamfara states.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the appellate court had nullified the governorship elections in Plateau, Zamfara and Kano states.
Jilemsam faulted the judgments, particularly that of Plateau where the court cited lack of valid structure in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as grounds for nullifying the election of Gov. Caleb Mutfwang and some members of the State and National Assembly from the state.
He said it was crucial for the legal processes to be transparent, just, and free from any undue influence to preserve the democratic foundation on which Nigeria stands.
“The recent governorship elections in Kano, Plateau, and Zamfara have demonstrated the collective will of the people in shaping the future of their states.
“We recognise the importance of a fair and impartial judiciary in upholding the rule of law and safeguarding democratic principles; the judiciary plays a critical role in ensuring justice, protection of citizens’ rights and preserving the credibility of the electoral process.
“Any actions that compromise these principles is undermining the very foundation of any democratic nation.
“Without a functioning judiciary, there is a risk of constitutional violations going unchecked, leading to the erosion of citizens’ rights and freedoms.
“But the fairness and transparency of the judicial system are vital in fostering public trust, confidence, and belief in the democratic process,”he said.
The convener, who described the appeal court judgments as a ”miscarriage of justice” and posed serious threat to Nigeria’s democracy.
He maintained that the conflicting judgments in the three states are capable of eroding public trust in the nation’s electoral process.
“It is imperative to emphasise that any attempt to manipulate or subvert the will of the people using judicial tools will not be accepted.
“The foundation of a robust democracy lies in the integrity of the electoral system and the adherence to fair and transparent processes.
“The citizens of Kano, Plateau, and Zamfara have exercise their democratic rights, and their voices must be heard and honoured.
“Attempts to undermine the sanctity of these elections will not only jeopardise the democratic principles that Nigeria upholds but also erode public trust in the electoral process.
“We call upon all stakeholders, including the electoral authorities and the judiciary, to ensure a thorough and unbiased judgement as we head to Supreme Court for disputes arising from the ruling of appeal Judgments,” the Convener called.
Jilemsam advised that popular mandate expressed through the electoral process must be respected by all toward ensuring a sustained democratic values in Nigeria.
He urged all parties involved to prioritise the greater good of the people and respect the outcome of every elections, adding that such move would be in the spirit of unity and progress.
“Upholding the popular mandate is paramount for the sustained growth and development of our democratic values in Nigeria.
“The peace and stability of Kano, Pleteau and Zamfara is key to the overall well-being of Nigeria,”he said(NAN)(www.nannews.ng).
Edited by Polycarp Auta