Retired Supreme Court Justice, Mary Odili, has cautioned politicians who lost in the 2023 elections against blackmailing the judiciary and inciting Nigerians against justices.
The wife of the former Governor of Rivers State also called for responsibility and perspective from all parties and warned against speculative hypotheses that could inflame tensions.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, she said this over the weekend at a colloquium in Abuja to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Joe-Kyari Gadzama as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
Speaking at the event, Justice Odili acknowledged the tension generated by the 2023 elections.
While recognizing that feelings of loss are natural, she stressed that actions threatening national stability cannot be justified, as the resulting turmoil would spare no one.
Justice Odili instead advocated resolving disputes through electoral tribunals and the courts, stating that elections are seasonal, and courts will return to regular duties once disputes are resolved.
The respected Justice stressed the need for legal professionals to promote stability amidst political tensions and act responsibly during this contentious period.
She said, “This colloquium and book launch of Chief J.K. Gadzama upon the attainment of 25 years as a senior advocate of Nigeria is an epochal achievement. It is no doubt appropriate that the team is ‘the Nigeria of our dreams, a call to the patriots.’ I say so in light of the prevailing situation in Nigeria as a result of the 2023 general elections which has generated a lot of storms necessitating the conversation we are about to indulge in as there seems to be a move to draw the nation into chaos or conflagration.
“This may be brought about by some individuals and groups who fan the embers of hatred, bigotry, and tribalism and fail to see the possible outcomes of utterances without caution that are being thrown around.”
Although the retired judge accepted that as humans it hurts when one feels cheated in a contest, she added that once a person is declared a winner irrespective of the grievances and shortfalls, such do not justify the destruction of the country.
“It is human to feel cheated or having the short end of the stick but one who is not declared a winner at any of the electoral contests, such a notion however grieved does not justify bringing the roof down – the roof of our nation,” she said.
“Therefore, in ventilating our points of view and facts at the electoral tribunals or other courts, a sense of responsibility from all parties is demanded.
“The situation does not call for the blackmail of judges or the positing of speculating hypotheses given them such a life of their own which run riot and accepted by the heartless and innocent in the society as the truth.
“Knowing the quality of participants in the colloquium, I am happy that those who are well-equipped in litigation matters or electoral disputes are here – Chief Olanipekun is a master and our Attorney General recently sworn in; these are experts.
“I am confident that having such persons here including our chief host, Chief J.K. Gadzama, there is confidence that at the end of the day, a resetting of the mind would take place and we will keep things in perspective in the full knowledge that elections are seasonal and litigation relating thereto of the same vain and so, when the seasons are gone, the court gets back to their natural and regular duties of adjudication regarding the affairs, and rights of all persons irrespective of their status in life.
“J.K. Gadzama SAN has called us to this discussion lest we forget our past, the recent happenings in our country, and the need for a restoration of the ethos and the values for which the founding fathers have set a motion as a guide to all of us young and old irrespective of the positions we occupy in their society, we all have to get our axes together and rebuild our nation,” she added.