IT has become the norm with the opening of every electoral season to see an avalanche of conflicting court orders from courts of coordinate jurisdictions.
Rather than appeal, desperate politicians leave their natural judicial zones for faraway places to obtain ex-parte court injunctions to counter orders already given by courts of the same rank.
Virtually all the registered political parties are guilty of this malfeasance. In recent times, we have seen it within the opposition parties – the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP(national body), and the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA( in Anambra State).
In the case of the PDP, a Rivers State High Court granted an ex-parte ruling restraining Uche Secondus from parading himself as the party’s chairman on August 24, 2021.
Three days later, Secondus obtained a counter-order from the Kebbi State high court restoring him to that post. Barely a day later, another High Court in Calabar, Cross River State, again restrained Secondus. The same happened after the primaries of the political parties in Anambra State.
This shows that after 23 years of our return to democracy, the political parties and politicians are far from evolving into a democratic culture that respects their constitutions and internal mechanisms for conflict resolution. Desperation is the rule of the day.
With this attitude, it is obvious that our politicians are not ready to comport and conduce themselves to the tenets and etiquettes that eventually produce good governance. If the law and the need for voluntary conventional compliance mean nothing to them, is it when they attain the offices of their dream that they would turn a better leaf?
Our concern is that this desperate forum-shopping makes the work of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, very difficult and more expensive to the taxpayer than it should be because INEC is bound to obey all court orders.
It also exposes our judiciary to ridicule. Lawyers, in their desperation to earn fees, look for corrupt judges in all parts of the federation to compromise. The judiciary is thus stripped of its position as the temple of justice.
When we do these things, let us be reminded that the world is watching. The ability of the judiciary to do justice without fear or favour is a major determinant of the choice made by investors in considering any country. We are destroying our country because of personal greed.
We are not impressed by the tepid reactions of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Mohammed, who summoned six Chief Justices, and the statement issued by the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, President, Olumide Akpata, who said the Bar will no longer stand and watch its members fouling the courts.
If they were proactive with the implementation of regulations, enough lessons would have been learned by judges and lawyers to minimise forum-shopping.