June 15, 2024

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, on Thursday, swore in 39 additional judges to hear the petitions that emanated from the February 15 and March 18 general elections across the country.

The 39 judges join the 307 judicial officers earlier assigned the task, bringing the number to 346.

The CJN, during the ceremony which took place at the Supreme Court, stressed the importance of the assignment and urged them not to succumb to temptations or blackmail.

The CJN said the judges were found worthy to be appointed as additional members of tribunals that have been saddled with an “avalanche of petitions” trailing the 2023 general elections.

Administering the oath on the newly appointed election petition tribunal judges, the CJN stressed that the country needed peace “at this crucial phase,” and he admonished them not to allow sentiment and public opinion to betray their sense of judgment.

He said, “You have just taken an oath that has not only imposed a cause of upright moral undertaking on you but equally looped you with destiny.

“This is an enormous national assignment that will literally put the contents of your conscience to the test.

“The onus is on you to keep aloft the banner of honesty and integrity that the judiciary has painstakingly hoisted over the years. Your appointment to serve in these tribunals is well conceived, thus, you should do everything within your ability to justify this confidence.

“There is no doubt that you will be exposed to different forms of temptations and even blackmails but you should know that all are aimed at testing your strength of character, honesty and integrity.

“My candid advice is that, in whatever circumstance, you should always be mindful of this oath you have just taken because it now stands as an uncompromising witness between you and your creator.

“It behoves you to willingly submit yourselves to the sanctity of the rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution in the discharge of your judicial functions. It is the general belief that elections held when the rule of law is too fragile, seldom lead to lasting democratic governance.

“You are enjoined to always strike a balance between justice and the rule of law as you embark on this critical national assignment.”

The CJN added that the judges must be mindful that “the rule of law delayed, is lasting peace denied because justice is a handmaiden of true peace.”

Justice Ariwoola prayed that God would grant the tribunal judges “the courage and wisdom to carry out this responsibility without faltering or failing.”

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