The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has raised an alarm over the recurring trend of contradictory court decisions and orders, especially among courts of coordinate jurisdiction.
In a statement on Monday, the President of the Bar, Olumide Akpata, says such decisions typically arise from ex-parte applications and almost always in political matters.
He believes the recurring contradictory decisions of the courts, based on the apparently indiscriminate grant of orders and counter-orders – relating to the nomination of candidates by the major political parties for the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State, and the equally embarrassing situation playing out in respect of the leadership crisis of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that has seen three different contradictory rulings by courts of coordinate jurisdiction – leaves a lot to be desired.
“These are antithetical to the actualisation of the just society and independent judiciary that we all aspire to, and run contrary to everything we teach and hold dear as a profession,” Akpata said. “They do nothing but bring the judiciary and the system of administration of justice to ridicule.
“Before blaming the judges, we must first look inwards and call out our members, most of whom are senior members of the Bar, who continue to yield themselves to be used as willing tools by politicians to wantonly abuse the judicial process.
“In our view, these actions contravene the RPC esp Rule 1 which requires a lawyer to uphold and observe the rule of law, promote and foster the cause of justice, maintain a high standard of professional conduct, and not engage in any conduct unbecoming of a legal practitioner.”
According to the NBA President, the Bar agrees with Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme in her condemnation of the indulgence by some judicial officers of politicians who go round the country shopping for judgments, and thereby bring the judiciary to public ridicule.
“Beyond that, we shall say no more at this time,” he said. “I will on behalf of the NBA, urgently seek audience with My Lord, the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria to address this issue holistically.”
Akpata also sought the support of the NBA Judiciary Committee Chairman, Dr. Babatunde Ajibade, SAN; NBA-SLP Chairman, Mr Oluwaseun Abimbola, SAN; and NBA-SPIDEL Chairman, Dr Monday Ubani, for the proposed engagement.
“As the nation approaches its next round of general elections, the NBA cannot, and will not, be a spectator whilst our hard-earned democracy is threatened by the venal acts of a few.
“It can no longer be business as usual,” he averred.