Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has criticized the recent verdicts of Nigerian judges on electoral disputes, arguing that it is unacceptable for a small number of individuals to overturn the decisions of millions of voters.
Obasanjo made his remarks during a high-level consultation on Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy in Africa, held at the Green Resort Legacy, Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
The former president specifically criticized the Court of Appeal’s decisions to sack three governors: Dauda Lawal of Zamfara State, Abba Kabir Yusuf of Kano, and Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State.
“I believe whatever form of democracy we have or whatever system of government we have, three or four men in the judiciary should not be able to overturn the decisions of millions that have voted,” Obasanjo said.
“Now, we have to find a way to handle that. I don’t know what the way will be, but, for me, I think it’s totally unacceptable that millions (of votes), maybe 10m on one side, maybe 9million on the other side. Then, you have five people sitting down, three of them agree, two disagree. And you come up and make cathedral pronouncements that cannot be changed, I believe that should not be accepted.”
Obasanjo also questioned the legitimacy of rerun elections ordered by the courts. “How do we do it? I don’t know. But whatever form of democracy we have, we should look at how to handle this. If you say ‘go again for election,’ then, what happened to the previous election? I don’t know.”
“So, I personally feel strongly about It does not matter what you say about the judiciary, but in fact only five people or seven will sit down. If they are five, three may agree, two may not agree, and the decision of three will be final. All that you have done comes to the decision of three or decision of four,” he said.
The former president’s comments have sparked a debate about the role of the judiciary in Nigerian elections.