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CJN to Judges: Don’t yield to blackmail on election petitions

Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad, yesterday, swore in 85 Judges who will sit over election petitions tribunals in the forthcoming governorship polls in Edo and Ondo states and the byelections in other parts of the country. Justice Muhammad, while inaugurating the Judges at the Supreme Court in Abuja, asked them to be firm and upright, and not to be swayed by sentiments and cheap blackmail in the course of discharging their duties. “There is no doubt that temptations, tribulations, intimidations and even sheer blackmails may be unleashed on you, but as thoroughbred judicial officers, you must guard your loins to rise above all and do what will earn you accolades in the court of public opinions.

“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 higher heights in life. “You are expected to conduct your affairs within the ambit of the law and the oath that has just been administered on you, as anything short of that will place you on the wrong side of history and God will ask you the questions that you may not be confident enough to answer. “I will not condone any act of recklessness, abuse of power and public trust. “This is a rare opportunity and you must give a good account of yourselves.

“You should count yourselves worthy to be so entrusted with this humongous responsibility of deciding the fate of those who would be contesting the highest political offices in Edo and Ondo states respectively and some other political offices in other states by virtue of the forthcoming elections,” he stated.

The CJN reminded the judges that trust is a burden which they must discharge with utmost sincerity, honesty and transparency, “because conscience is an open wound healed only by truth.” He, however, urged members of the election petition tribunal to rise and operate above every sentiment that might play out in the course of their adjudication in the tribunal. “All eyes are on you and always remember that your conducts will be publicly dissected and thoroughly scrutinized.

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 higher height in life,” the CJN said. The Edo governorship election is scheduled for September 19 while that of Ondo will hold on October 10.

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