Supreme Court lambasts critics of recent judgements

The Supreme Court slammed some Nigerians on Saturday for "venting convoluted anger" in the aftermath of its recent pronouncements, which affirmed former Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio and Senate President Ahmad Lawan as All Progressives Congress senatorial candidates in the February 25 elections. 

The Supreme Court warned purveyors of such attacks on the judiciary and Nigeria's Chief Justice, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, particularly the US-based Professor Farooq Kperogi and Progressive Minds Forum, to stop and redirect their energies to political parties that "fail to organize themselves well." 

Dr Festus Akande, the Supreme Court's Director of Press and Information, issued the warning in a statement titled "Be wary of unwarranted attacks on judicial officers." 

According to him, over 600 cases have gone to court so far from just party primaries conducted by political parties without any interference or encumbrance from any external bodies. 

"We have watched with utter dismay some unfortunate events that have been unfolding in the country, particularly within the political landscape, for some days now," the statement says. 

"It is so disheartening to learn that some individuals and groups of persons who ought to know better and even assume the revered positions of role models to a larger proportion of the citizens are now sadly, the very ones flagrantly displaying ignorance and infantilism in the course of defending the indefensible. 

"In an ineptly scripted toxic article, one Farooq Adamu Kperogi, who described himself as a Nigerian-American Professor, decided to plunge into an abysmal pit of irredeemable ignorance by venting convoluted anger on Supreme Court Justices in order to please his paymasters. 

"We have made it abundantly clear on numerous occasions that Judicial Officers are neither political office holders nor politicians who should wear such robes. 

"Our silence should not be misinterpreted as weakness or cowardice. 

"Certainly, every Nigerian citizen has an inalienable right to express his or her opinion without any encumbrance; but even in the course of expressing such fundamental right, we should be circumspect enough to observe the caution gate of self-control in order not to infringe on another person's right. 

"Even in a state of emotional disequilibrium, we should be reasonable enough to make a good choice of decent words, as every word employed by the pen-happy Kperogi only succeeded in portraying the kind of vacuum that sign-posts all that he has as academic accomplishment. 

"I believe those who possess similar credentials with him are obviously ashamed of celebrating any form of affinity with such a character that has an odious reputation for being a serial verbal assailant over the years, as he sees nothing good in anything good. 

"He has only succeeded in inflicting upon himself a mood of bellicose jingoism which does not represent a mark of honour for any discerning mind or academic, the world over. 

"Courts don't advertise or scout for cases for adjudication; but at the same time, we are duty-bound to adjudicate on all matters that come before us with a view to giving justice to whoever justice is due, irrespective of status. 

"No court in any clime is a Father Christmas; so, no one can get what he or she didn't ask for. 

"Similarly, all matters are thoroughly analysed and considered based on their merits and not the faces that appear in court or sentiments that attempt to becloud the sense of reasoning. 

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"So, for anyone in his or her right frame of mind to insinuate that the Justices have been bought over by some unknown and unseen persons is, to say the least, a bizarre expression of ignorance, which definitely has no place in law or even in the realm of pedestrian reasoning. 

"We are not surprised with the surge of these well-orchestrated verbal assaults on Judicial Officers across the country at this period of elections. 

"It is a thing we are used to and are ever ready to absorb whatever comes our way, but there should be some level of decorum and dignity in what we say and do. Politics should not be played without regard for good conscience and acceptable moral behavior, as everything is changing on a global scale. 

"Calls for the Chief Justice of Nigeria to resign or attacks on Justices on various panels, as demonstrated by a faceless group calling itself 'Progressive Minds Forum,' are rather banal. 

"If political parties fail to organise themselves well by managing their internal wrangling maturely and now chose to bring themselves to the court, we are duty-bound to adjudicate in accordance with the provisions of the law and not the dictates of any individual or deity, as some people would want us to do. 

"If political parties conduct themselves well and orderly too, the courts would definitely handle fewer cases and the political atmosphere will be much healthier than it is currently. 

"We shall continuously do our best to discharge our constitutional responsibility to keep the country together and move the nation along the path of peace, progress and development. 

"Attacks by groups, political parties or individuals under any guise will not deter us, rather it will boost our resolve to do more for the country. 

"It is not only petty but equally very unreasonable for anyone to hurriedly link CJN Ariwoola to his state of origin and tribe simply because of a particular judgment of the court. 

"The major problem of Nigeria has always been the undue emphasis on religion and ethnicity in all our dealings. Progress will remain a mirage as long as we continue on this path. 

"As of this moment, over 600 cases have so far gone to court from just party primaries which were conducted by political parties without any encumbrance or interference from any external bodies. 

"Will political parties, Kperogi, or any individual now accuse the court of causing such unpleasant intra-party wrangling that defied all internal conflict resolution mechanisms? 

"Most of the time, some people try as hard as they can to deceive logic and demonstrate their unimaginable dexterity. 

"Those who have cultivated the unfashionable penchant of always attacking the Judiciary over every judgment or ruling given should better have a rethink and start channelling such robust energy into some ventures that are more developmental than destructive. 

"We are not politicians and should not, by any stroke of imagination, be cast in that mould either. 

"Nobody's interest can ever trump everyone's interest. Nigeria is larger than each of us. For the wise, a single word suffices."

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