Toba Owojaiye reporting
Abeokuta, Ogun State
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has criticized recent judicial decisions, labeling them as “cathedral judgments” and expressing concern over the power wielded by a few judges in overturning election outcomes decided by millions of voters.
Obasanjo specifically referred to the recent Court of Appeal decisions that led to the removal of three opposition governors: Dauda Lawal (Zamfara State), Abba Yusuf (Kano), and Caleb Mutfwang (Plateau State). These verdicts have sparked public backlash, with the judiciary facing more criticism than praise.
TruthLive News reports that Obasanjo made these remarks during a high-level consultation on rethinking Western liberal democracy in Africa, held at the Green Resort Legacy in Abeokuta, Ogun State. He emphasized that the authority of three or four judges should not supersede the collective decisions of millions of voters in a democracy.
He questioned the acceptability of a situation where a handful of judges can make irreversible decisions affecting the outcome of elections.
The former president acknowledged the challenge of finding a solution but stressed the urgency of addressing this issue within the democratic framework. He highlighted the dilemma of suggesting a rerun of elections and questioned the implications for the legitimacy of the initial poll results.
Obasanjo’s statement has elicited mixed reactions. While some view his perspective as informed by his extensive experience in leading the country both as a military head of state and a civilian president, others argue that having had the opportunity to govern the nation twice, he should have implemented reforms during his lengthy tenure.
The debate ignited by Obasanjo’s comments brings to the fore the ongoing discourse on the role of the judiciary in electoral disputes and the need for a system that balances the power of the judiciary with the democratic will of the people. As Nigeria navigates the aftermath of these controversial judgments, the call for a reevaluation of the democratic process resonates among citizens with varying opinions on the way forward.