2023 ELECTIONS: BUHARI ASKS JUDICIARY TO REMAIN HONEST ARBITERS.
Written by AIGBOKHAEBHO OKHUELEIGBE on September 29, 2022
President Muhammadu Buhari has implored the nation’s judiciary to further sustain the rule of law in Nigeria and ensure the integrity of participatory democracy by remaining honest arbiters in pre and post-election matters.
The President said this on Thursday at the commissioning of the Body of Benchers complex in Abuja.
He noted that the judiciary has a major role to play in safeguarding fairness in the 2023 elections and ensuring the sanctity of democratic processes. The President Said:
As the 2023 general elections draw near, the significance of the legal profession becomes even more pronounced considering the vital roles you play in the electioneering process, both at the pre and post-election stages. I hope you maintain the position of an honest arbiter.
President Buhari said that his administration will continue to respect and elevate the rule of law.
While congratulating the Body of Benchers, chaired by Chief Wole Olanipekun for the successful completion of the complex, which was started in 2008, Buhari commended the Body for keeping the wheel of justice turning effectively by providing a solid foundation for upholding the rule of law, with over five decades of proven track record.
President Buhari pledged to support better welfare packages for judiciary staff after the ongoing review.
President Buhari praised the initiative of the Body of Benchers to build the complex and for extending an invitation to his office to commission the building.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Body of Benchers, Olanipekun, said the idea of the complex was deliberated in 1992 and the groundbreaking ceremony was held on November 28, 2008.
“So much time, talent, and treasure have been invested in this facility,’’ he said, explaining that the complex had a 3,000 sitting capacity hall, 240 capacity meeting room, 1000 capacity banquet hall, another 1000 capacity multipurpose hall, offices for staff and a library.
He said the actualization of the vision to build the complex can be attributed to the foresight of 16 persons out of which only one of them was still alive.
He commended two retired Chief Justices of Nigeria, Justice Alfa Belgore and Justice Mahmud Mohammed for their support.
On improving conditions of service for judicial workers, Olanipekun said:
May I publicly thank and commend Mr. President for his fast response to my address that a democratic government, standing on a tripod, cannot thrive where one is not properly taken care of.
Describing the building as “magnificent and befitting of the Body of Benchers’’, the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, said the sacrifices of past Chairmen and Presidents of the Body of Benchers had eventually paid off.
He urged the body to put the facility to good use, particularly in hosting the call to bar.
The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, congratulated the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Olukayode Ariwoola on his confirmation.
He said the Body of Benchers complex transcends a physical structure, capturing the essence of the body in the conscience of legal professionals and creating an enabling environment for the administration of rule of law.
He said the legal profession needs to purge itself of charlatans, stating that “we cannot afford to lower the bar, if it must retain family confidence.’’
The minister said the President had already made improvement in remuneration of judicial workers a priority, which he noted further demonstrated his love and respect for the legal profession.
Story By Yemi Adebayo