A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Alex Iziyon, has commended the judiciary for its performance in 2023, describing it as a challenging year for the third arm of government.
Iziyon, who spoke on Channels TV on Saturday, said the judiciary had to cope with the constitutional role and functions, as well as the added responsibility of the election year.
He said the courts were saddled with many cases arising from the pre-election and post-election matters, involving the house of assembly, the governorship, the national assembly and the presidential elections.
He also said the judges had to work within the timeframe stipulated by the constitution, and that he was not aware of any case that lapsed or was delayed due to the judiciary’s inability to finish up in time.
He praised the judiciary for delivering good decisions, based on facts and laws, and said that the few cases of miscarriage of justice or otherwise were negligible compared to the majority of sound judgements.
The SAN said, “2023, I must say, was a challenging time for the judiciary. Challenging time because, apart from its constitutional role and functions, the added responsibility of the election year. So, that was what made it challenging.
“And then, don’t forget, we were transiting from one political era to the other. What I mean by that is that, there was a fresh election where you have people, new heads of state, presidents vying. So, it was challenging because there were too many expectations and therefore, the courts were saddled. The regular courts, many of the judges were picked up to function as member and judges of the election tribunal, flowing from the election, that is, the house of assembly, the governorship, national assembly and presidential.
“The same goes for the court of appeal, there were panels set up to hear appeal, coming from the houses of assembly and national assembly elections. Before then, there were also pre-election matters, these were matters that emanated from the federal high court or the state high court, as the case may be and court of appeal and the supreme court. So, it was enormous, it was challenging.
“But, however, no matter how doubting it was, I must say the judiciary did very well, because assuming they didn’t live up to the challenges, it’s a different story. I’m not aware of any singular matter where the cases have lapsed, because constitutionally, they were expected to be conducted within the timeframe, none! Some within six months, appeal, two months, court of appeal and supreme court, including pre-election matters.
He lamented that some people did not take losing in good faith, and resorted to writing some callous articles against the judiciary, without reading the judgements or understanding the reasoning behind them.”
Iziyon stated, “There was no case, I’m not aware of any where, because they couldn’t finish up in time, it was lapsed or any laxity. So, I must commend them, that they did very well. Yes! There are bound to be some challenges and sentiments being raised. Let me pose a question, if all litigants or plaintiffs or petitioners go to the court and all wins, have you ever seen it? It’s not possible! So, there must be a loser. But we have come to a state where people don’t take losing in good fate and then, the next thing is to see some callous write-ups. The reason is that some of them are not based on facts and laws. Majority having read the judgement to see the thinking, I’ve done some, I’ve won some, I’ve lost some, the reasons are there.”
He urged the public to appreciate the efforts of the judiciary, and said that he would score them 80 per cent, which is an ‘A’ in any exam.
He said, “So, you find it very absurd, some of our colleagues, in the papers, in TV, they write. Let us not lend our credence to… Yes, I’m not saying there are no few one or two areas where they are challenges of miscarriage of justice or otherwise but to me, that is infinitesimal compared to the majority of good decisions that have been given, so to my mind, I think fair and square, if you say arithmetically or mathematically to score them, probably 80 per cent is an ‘A’ in any exam.”