End post-election litigations in Nigeria – Jonathan charges INEC, judiciary

Former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, cutting the tape on Tuesday, at the inauguration of Delta State High Court complex in Asaba

Former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, has charged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigeria Judiciary to end the avalanche of post-election elections litigations in Nigeria.

Jonathan gave the charge while inaugurating the multi-million naira State High Court edifice equipped with modern facilities and 24 hours power supply.

The project was completed by the Gov. Sheriff Oborevwori government.

The former president also flagged off the presentation of 20 Toyota Prado Sport Utility Vehicles, or SUVs, to judges in the state.

He said that the project was the third he had inaugurated in the state and had lauded Oborevwori for continuing and completing his predecessors initiated projects and programmes.

Jonathan, however, said that it was good to equip the judiciary with the best edifice and to give them the needed comfort because Nigerians also expected the best from them.

“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.

The former president said that completing past administration’s projects would aid the growth and development of the state.

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

He said that the history of the high court building project began in 1991, adding 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 journalists 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 Africa 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 an 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 feel 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 go to court are those who know they failed the election but 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 said that unlike in Nigeria, in South Africa, the electoral management body would never compromise, and they all know.

“So, if you lose the 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 governor, government and judiciary of Delta, 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, awarding the contracts and for their commitment that enabled the completion of the high court project, which began about 25 years ago.

He said that completion of the building was in line with his commitment to the completion of projects inherited from previous administrations.

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

He said 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 said the erstwhile President remained 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,”.

The Commissioner for Housing, Mr. Godknows Angele, said 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, lauded 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, thanked Gov. Oborevwori and his predecessors for the completion of the modern edifice.

She described it as a “magnificent testament” and an enduring commitment to the pursuit of justice and excellence in the judiciary.

The Chief Judge said the new High Court Complex had internet access and other critical information technology (IT) facilities in the building to enhance e-filing of court processes and e-payments for services rendered by the High Court of Justice.

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