Pilot Law

Politicians don’t prepare for election petition during campaigns yet blame judges – Dada

Barrister Abiodun Dada has handled many cases of election petition at tribunals within and outside Kwara State. In this interview with ACTING EDITOR, MUMINI ABDULKAREEM, he spoke on a wide range of issue especially why some politicians lost cases at election tribunals among others. Excerpts:
Lawyers and Judiciary have been under the spotlight recently but for the wrong reasons. What is your view on this?
I will say the issue is not just lawyers but individuals who are just being brought under the news because of their profession. Lawyers are humans. So it is better those involved are addressed by their names rather than being referred through the profession. My take is that these are just allegations and the position of the law is very clear. If we are saying some people have done something wrong under the law, then he who alleges must proof and if they have anything against them, they know the appropriate way to deal with the situation by going to the court of law. That being said, a senior lawyer was recently arraigned by EFCC in the person of Ricky Tarfa, lawyers appeared for him against EFCC in the same way lawyers appeared for the EFCC. The prosecutors know where to ventilate their grievances which is the court of law. As for the judges, allegations against them to me are wrong. They are justices of the Supreme Court and the apex court is the highest court of the land. They determine cases from the way they observed. This is different from the politicians who say something and do another. Law is different completely from any other profession and if you have alleged somebody has done wrong, you must have your facts. They will determine the case on the basis of facts presented before them, they can’t go outside it because the moment they do that, they are going to the arena of the case and the law forbids that. They can only act on the basis of records presented before them. If one has a good case but presented it in a very wrong manner in other lower courts, the Supreme Court cannot do otherwise but determine it on the basis of the record of proceedings presented before it. It is in that regards it will be completely out of place to now be alleging or accusing judges of bias.
How best do you think election petition should be determined against backdrop of allegation of too stringent measures?
Before the amendment of electoral act 2010, election petition matters can take almost four years and you see a sitting governor almost completing his tenure before the end of the case. Now after the amendments of the electoral act, you can sit within 10 months. Six months for the trial before the election tribunal, two months for the appeal, and at most two months at the Supreme Court. In all that is average of ten months from trial to the Supreme Court in cases that has to do with the governorship and the presidency that will go up to the level showing that we are gradually advancing and very soon we will get there. If you are saying there is rigging, the law make provision for what must be established including bringing the ballot papers that was stuffed, hence it is a herculean task. Apart from this, most politician when preparing for campaigns never bother to prepare for election petition, none of them will sit and factor that into their programme as the campaign is going on preparing for what that will present in case they lost the election, what are the facts to be presented and the evidence they were able to collate, they don’t work on the strategies they would use peradventure they lost the election at the tribunal. Now they have a limited time of 21 days within which to fill a petition and so if they cannot meet up, or in an attempt to meet up, they put things together in an haphazard manner and at the end of the day lost the election, they will now be alleging the judges have taken bribe from the opponent. The law is clear on all these.
Some have said the President’s disposition is giving the lawyers and judiciary bad perception, do you agree?
I don’t see any negative effect it will have because they are doing their job, they took oath of office and if they are now doing wrong outside the oath they took, it’s between them and God, one day the long arms of the law will catch up with them. In this last election petition I have petition in Kwara and Rivers where I appeared for the respondent and petitioner respectively which all sat in Abuja which I won.
(Cut in) In this regard, some have accused lawyers as being a big part of the problem by appearing as a respondent and petitioner in similar cases just like you have done?
Firstly, this is not the same case and not even in the same state. The training we have doesn’t allow us to reject cases. I cannot take case for Mr “A” here and in the same place take another case against him, it’s against the ethnics of our profession. However, the fact that I appeared for respondent in Kwara State does not mean I cannot do same for a petitioner in another state depending on the brief I got.

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button