A legal practitioner, Mr Chukwuma Ezeala, has joined in the call for the reform of the Nigerian judiciary as well as highlighted key aspects that need to be improved in the sector.
Ezeala who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme Sunrise Daily, believes that the wrought in the system needs to be addressed.
He also believes that the 100 billion Naira budget for the sector in the 2017 budget is coming at the right time as the sector needs to move to the next level.
“Considering the problems we have in the Judiciary, considering the constant demand for funding, it will certainly make a little difference but I think we should do more.
Outlining some of the outstanding requirements of the Judiciary, he said: “we have a lot of challenges today, we have a lot of people being taken to the judiciary, we need to appoint more judges, we need to improve the court rooms.
According to him, “when you get into the court, you see that a lot of people are hanging outside.
“We need more court rooms, more buildings for the courts, we need to make them a bit more comfortable.
“If we are fighting corruption, where would we start, if not making that area a bit more comfortable, more friendly.
Pointing out the fact that Judges are still writing in long hand, Ezeala stressed the need to employ more people.
He also believes that another problem which might hinder the speedy development of the sector is how much would actually be released.
“You know the performance of our budget depends on how much they are ready to release,” Ezeala posited.
A Nigerian lawyer says that Nigerians voted against corruption and not just for President Muhammadu Buhari who was showing a face to non-tolerance to corruption.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Friday, Mr Chukwuma Ezeala said that “most of the ministerial nominees of the current administration were part of the corruption-ridden government we’ve been having from 1983 till date.
“I expect the President to bring 70 per cent of people known to have done their work well in terms of planning from the private sector,” he said, giving his opinion about the ministerial nominees who have been screened by the Senate.
Giving his view on the quality of questions that were asked the ministerial nominees during screening, Mr Ezeala said: “We expected the Senate to look at every thing in detail; some of the Senators did well in terms of questions asked while some didn’t ask questions that were expected as Senators of Nigeria.
“No ministerial nominee was asked how he would harness the resources in the civil service or how they would make sure that the employees sit up”.
Talking about his expectations about the ministerial screening, Mr Ezeala said he believed most Nigerians had their expectations dashed.
“All we heard about the appointment was that the people, who would be appointed, were people of proven character, requisite knowledge and expertise. We were expecting 60 or 70 per cent of people to be appointed into the cabinet to have those qualities.
“Be that as it may, we believe President Buhari wants to deliver on the promises made. So, he has sole information of who he appoints,” he said.
The lawyer further stressed that it was the prerogative of President Buhari to think of those that he could work with him, but also pointed out that the Senate could have helped the President in his choice.
“If the Senate says since the President had nominated 36 ministers, they are automatically approved it means they shouldn’t be there to clear them,” he maintained.
Mr Ezeala, however, stressed that the ministerial screening had not been working over the years because the country had not started doing the right things.
” The President needs to get the politics as well as people who are competent, who command respect and have the support of members of their states,” he added.
The National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur has restated the commitment of the National Working Committee (NWC) to abide by laid-down electoral processes and the rule of law which forms the fulcrum of the party’s participation in elections across the country.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, in a statement on Sunday said that the NWC is in total support of the suit filed by its candidate, in the November 16, 2013 Anambra governorship election, Comrade Tony Nwoye, challenging the result of the poll.
It described the action of the candidate as a “step in the right direction and an acceptance of the directive of the National Working Committee, earlier communicated to him to pursue the mandate in accordance with established democratic procedures and rules”.
“The PDP is totally committed to democracy and electoral processes as stipulated by the constitution and laws of our land. This explains why we remained steadfast to the processes outlined for the Anambra governorship election and the reason for our earlier stand and directive to our candidate and members to participate in the Supplementary Election as directed by INEC.
“As a party committed to strengthening the institution of democracy, we believe that due process must be followed at all times to allow the laws and electoral rules run their full courses without any interruption. It is in this regard that we commend our candidate for conforming with the ideals of our great party in seeking redress at the right time and through the appropriate democratic channel”, the statement said.
Expressing optimism that “justice will prevail at the end of the day”, the statement said that the PDP “remains impressed by Nwoye’s credible outing, resilience and grass root appeal which brought him to the forefront in the race, despite having only two weeks to campaign”. It therefore charged all PDP members close ranks and remain focused in supporting the party and the candidate.
The statement also urged the people of Anambra State to “continue to resist attempts by the APC to turn the state into a theatre of violence and bloodshed, typical of desperate politicians and bad losers who do not have the interest of the people at heart”.
It further observed that the Anambra election and others so far conducted have shown that the PDP is still the preeminent party with genuine followership across the country, irrespective of its challenges and the heinous designs by enemies of democracy to weaken its support base.
Noting that it remains the “only party committed to national interest and unity”, the PDP said that it will continue to uphold the principles of justice and equity and ensure good governance for the welfare, prosperity and happiness of all Nigerians across board.
A legal practitioner, Mr. Chukwuma Ezeala, says that the Independent National Electoral Commission in Nigeria (INEC) lacks the legal backing to cancel an election it had already announced its result.
The comments came as some stakeholders in the November 16 governorship election in Anambra State have called for the cancelation of election that INEC declared inconclusive due to witnessed irregularities.
INEC had released the results of the election on Monday morning, with the candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Willie Obiano, leading with 174,710 votes.
The Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate, Tony Nwoye, followed with 94,356 votes, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Dr. Chirs Ngige, got 92,300 votes while the Labour Party’s candidate, Ifeanyi Uba, had 37,446 votes.
A total of 1,786,536 persons registered in the state while the number of accredited voters for the election was 451,826.
The number of votes cast was 429,549, representing 24.04 per cent of the total number of registered voters. A total of 10,544 votes were rejected.
After the announcement of the result, the electoral body declared the election inconclusive, saying it will fix a date for a supplementary election that will hold in the areas where the irregularities were noticed.
On Channels Television breakfast programme, ‘Sunrise Daily,’ the lawyer faulted the call for the cancelation of the election and the conduct of a fresh election by opposition parties.
Sabotage Of Electoral Process
Mr. Ezeala, who is an international election observer, explained that political parties that had resentments about the conduct of the election and the result declared by the electoral body could seek redress in court or election tribunal.
“That is their only option,” he said.
“They are not lawyers and most of their advisers are not so they don’t know what the law stipulates.”
The issues arising from the Anambra governorship election have cast aspersion on the ability of the electoral body to conduct Nigeria’s General Election in 2015. The credibility of the electoral body is at stake.
Mr. Ezeala stressed that there was need for the electoral body to investigate what happened during the election for purposes of credibility in the electoral process.
INEC had ordered the arrest of an official for alleged sabotage of the process.
But Mr. Ezeala also said that records of such sabotage of electoral process contributed to the lack of trust for electoral officers in Nigeria.
“Why should we be talking about sabotaging an election in Nigeria?
‘Lack Of Credible People’
“The problem we have is lack of credible people to manage elections. The person can sabotage the process because he knows that nothing will happen.
“What encourages credibility is the ability of the government to prosecute people that have offended the law,” he stressed.
The election observer also stated that the lack of credibility contributed to the delay in the commencement of elections in Nigeria.
“Why would you not move materials closer to the place and give people around the place the result sheets?
“When you don’t have credible people, you will be releasing the materials to the polling units on the day of the election.
“In Ghana there is a measure of trust. There is trust to the extent that the sensitive materials will all be moved to far places a day or two before the election day,” he explained.
Mr. Ezeala urged the electoral commission to instil discipline in the staff in order to earn the trust of the electorates.
“The commission has the power to discipline the Resident Electoral Commissioner if he defaults, but it can’t sack the individual.
“He could be disciplined for incompetence or negligence. The electoral commission can post them away from a particular state. It can make recommendations to the Senate for removal,” he further explained.
The electoral commission will on Friday announce the date for the supplementary election but Mr. Ezeala was of the opinion that the electoral body should ensure that the fears of the political parties were allayed to restore credibility.