FCT Judges Overwhelmed With Pre-Election Matters – CJ

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The FCT Chief Judge, Justice Ishaq Bello, on Thursday, said that judges in the jurisdiction are overwhelmed with pre-election matters.

The CJ made this assertion in Abuja while receiving a delegation of the European Union Election Observation Mission, who visited him in his office.

According to him, there are bound to be political disagreements among party members and such disagreements include issues relating to party nomination of candidates for the forthcoming general elections.

“ There is lot of cases like that in the FCT judiciary. Judges in the FCT are overwhelmed with pre-election matters,” he said.

He, therefore, called on political parties to review their constitutions to ensure members’ grievances relating to party nominations are promptly addressed before sending names of candidates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

He noted that the internal constitutional provisions of most parties are used more for oppressive mean.

According to him, there is no provision, which says while a grievance of an aggrieved aspirant is being looked into; his opponent’s name cannot be presented to INEC.

“Judiciary is mindful of the fact that elections were at hand and as such it will do everything possible to ensure that no candidate is denied his right to contest.

“The judiciary is up and doing in this regards.

“ The judiciary is ready to be fair and just in handling of election matters,” he said.

The CJ, however, admonished judges who will handle post-election cases to be honest and fair, adding that they should not allow themselves to be cowed and intimidated in any way.

Bello told the delegation that the President of the Court of Appeal had reconstituted the panel to review the practice manual for election tribunal with a view to updating the manual with decisions of superior courts.

The chief judge also called on the media to do everything possible to report only what is established and avoid anything capable of heating up the polity.

According to him, sensational reporting is not in anybody’s interest.

“Report placed at public domain should avoid sensationalism.

“It must be something that is established.

“ Even where it is established, national interest must be considered first,” he said.

Earlier, a member of the delegation, Mr Ricardo Marelic, informed the CJ that members of the delegation are EU Observers deployed to monitor elections in the FCT.

According to him, they were at the FCT High Court to interact with the judiciary with a view to knowing how prepared the judiciary is for the forthcoming general elections. (NAN)

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