Partner at The LawCrest LLP, Chairman of the NBA-ICLE, and member of the National Judicial Council (NJC), Tobenna Erojikwe delivered a powerful address yesterday at the NBA-SLP Conference. In a captivating panel session entitled “Tyranny and Dictatorship of the Election Petition: Where is Justice?” Erojikwe unveiled a groundbreaking vision to address the burgeoning crisis surrounding election petition tribunals.
Erojikwe’s impassioned address shed light on the urgent need to restore balance in the judicial system, ensuring that election petitions no longer overshadow critical cases that affect fundamental human rights and time-sensitive litigation matters. With Nigeria’s court dockets already suffocating under the weight of congestion, he stressed the imperative to bolster the judiciary with additional judges to enable more efficient and effective justice delivery.
Erojikwe’s thought-provoking presentation shed light on the urgent need to address the congestion in Nigeria’s court dockets. Drawing attention to the detrimental impact on both political and time-bound litigation matters, he called for a balanced approach that does not overshadow the rights of incarcerated individuals and other pressing cases. Recognising the importance of election petitions while emphasising equal treatment for all legal matters, Erojikwe challenged the status quo and presented a roadmap for change.
At the forefront of Erojikwe’s proposals is the revolutionary concept of awarding costs on a full indemnity basis, compelling petitioners to bear the financial burden of their misguided actions. To further discourage baseless litigation, he advocated for the establishment of an indemnity bond, ensuring accountability and responsible conduct.
Recognising the invaluable experience of retired judges and senior lawyers, Erojikwe proposed their engagement on an ad hoc basis, bringing their wisdom and expertise to complex election petition cases. Moreover, he urged a strategic limitation of pre-election cases and those pertaining to the National Assembly, Governorship, and House of Assembly to the esteemed Court of Appeal, facilitating specialisation and streamlined decision-making.
In his closing remarks, Erojikwe emphasised the imperative of implementing the Uwais report in its entirety, calling for an unwavering commitment from the executive, legislative, and judicial branches to resolve the debilitating delays caused by election petition cases.
At the end of the thought-provoking panel, responses from conferees at the NBA-SLP conference were of the opinion that, with his visionary recommendations, Tobenna Erojikwe has unveiled a roadmap towards justice and efficiency in Nigeria’s electoral landscape.
Tobenna Erojikwe’s presentation today at the NBA-SLP outlines a vision that will ensure that Justice is not just done but seen to be done efficiently and effectively as the legal fraternity and decision-makers consider the future, it is evident that transformative action is not only desirable but indispensable to restore integrity and efficacy to the hallowed halls of justice.