Jonathan Urges INEC, Judiciary To End Post-election Lawsuits

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has admonished the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigerian judiciary to put an end to the tradition of post-election lawsuits in the country.

Goodluck made the call during the inauguration of the multi-million-naira Delta State High Court Complex recently completed by Governor Sheriff Oborevwori.

The former president also launched the presentation of 20 Toyota Prado Sports Utility Vehicles to the state’s judges.

Jonathan commended Oborevwori’s administration for completing projects and initiatives started by the past administration, mentioning that the High Court complex project is the third project he has inaugurated in the state recently.

According to him, equipping and providing for the judiciary with top-notch edifice is of utmost importance, as it would give them the comfort to deliver their best to the country.

LEADERSHIP understands that the complex is equipped with modern facilities and a round-the-clock power supply.

“I am glad to join the governor to commission this major project, this is the third project I have commissioned in Delta.

“I commissioned the State Government House when I was in office and the Federal High Court Complex, so governor, thank you for inviting me to be part of this unique ceremony,” Jonathan said.

The former president emphasised that completing the past administrations’ projects would aid growth and development in the state.

“We expect anybody who takes over to continue with the development pace and you are doing that,” he said.

He narrated that the history of the high court building project commenced in 1991, reiterating that it was on record that with commitment, the governor was able to complete the project and inaugurate it.

Jonathan said that with the inauguration of the edifice, it was a day to celebrate the judiciary.

He said that the governor had promised to do more for the judiciary, but as the governor rightly said, “This is an edifice of justice, Nigerians are expecting the best of the judiciary officers”.

“I just returned from South Africa on Monday, June 2, because I was there to observe their election that held on Wednesday, May 29.

“One Nigeria journalist interviewed me and asked, “What are the South Africans doing regarding their elections that we Nigerians can emulate or what Nigerians are doing that they can emulate?”

“I told him that one key difference between South African and Nigeria is that if a South African loses an election, and he goes to court, it is very strange. But if a Nigerian loses the election and does not go to court. It is very strange.

“In Nigeria, my thinking is that 50 percent of those who go to court, do so because they felt they were cheated by the electoral management system and were rigged out.

“So, assuming the elections are properly conducted, that set of people will not go to court. The next 50 percent that goes to court are those who know they failed the election but they feel they can use the judiciary to declare them winners.

“So, if the judiciary does not declare those who did not win elections winners, that remaining 50 percent will also not go to court,” he said.

Jonathan stated that unlike Nigeria, it is well known that the South African electoral management body would never compromise. So, if you lose election, you just have to wait for the next election. You don’t need to go to court.

“And if you go to court in South Africa, the judiciary will not compromise. So nobody goes to court but I believe we will get there one day in Nigeria

“So, the judiciary should be very strong and do the right thing so that this avalanche of litigation after elections will stop in this country,” Jonathan said.

While congratulating the government and the judiciary of Delta State, he urged the governor to continue on that trajectory to manage the state resources judiciously.

Gov. Oborevwori in his speech, lauded the past governors for initiating and awarding the contracts, and for their commitment to enabling the completion of the high court project which began about 25 years ago.

According to him, the completion of the building was in line with his commitment to the completion of projects inherited from previous administrations.

Oborevwori disclosed that he was motivated to complete the project because the judiciary was the only arm of government without a befitting building for their operations.

He added that the presentation of 20 Toyota Prado SUVs to judges in the state was a fulfillment of “a promise made and a promise kept”.

While thanking the former President for coming to inaugurate the project, he described Jonathan as a great Nigerian patriot, statesman, and unique leader, in and out of office.

“On behalf of the government and good people of Delta State, I thank you for your friendship, partnership, and sustained interest in the progress of our dear state and Nigeria in general,” he said.

The state’s Commissioner for Housing, Mr. Godknows Angele, disclosed that the building consisted of five floors, six courtrooms, six conference halls, and six witness waiting rooms.

It also has six holding cells, six secretarial offices, two general conference halls, a ceremonial hall, a multi-purpose hall, a lawyers’ lounge, a judges’ lounge, a VIP lounge, and a library, among others.

In his remarks, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, represented by the Presiding Judge of the Court of Appeal, Asaba Division, Justice Bolaji Yusuf, commended the state government for providing the magnificent edifice as a “temple of justice” in the state.

He expressed optimism that other states would emulate the Delta State example by providing similar magnificent temples of justice for the administration of justice in other parts of the country.

Also, in her remarks, Chief Judge of Delta State, Justice Theresa Diai, expressed gratitude to the state government and its predecessors for the modern edifice, adding that the internet facilities in the building would enhance the quality of service rendered by the State’s judiciary system.

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