President Muhammadu Buhari has charged the Judiciary to remain neutral in their determination of election related cases as the 2023 general elections draw closer.
Buhari said the Judiciary must sustain rule of law and ensure the integrity of participatory democracy by remaining honest arbiters in pre and post election matters.
The President made the remarks when he commissioned the Body of Benchers Complex, noting that the judiciary had a major role to play in safeguarding fairness in the 2023 elections and ensuring the sanctity of democratic processes.
“As the 2023 general elections draw near, the significance of the legal profession becomes even more pronounced considering the vital roles you play in the electioneering process, both at the pre and post-election stages. I hope you maintain the position of an honest arbiter,” he said.
President Buhari said that his administration will continue to respect and elevate the rule of law, adding, “adherence to the rule of law is critical to the progress of any society and this administration has not reneged in its commitment to this ideal.”
Read also: Unguarded optimism about Electoral Act shocking
While congratulating the Body of Benchers, chaired by Wole Olanipekun, for the successful completion of the complex, which was started in 2008, the President commended the Body for keeping the wheel of justice turning effectively by providing a solid foundation for upholding the rule of law, with over five decades of proven track record.
In his remark, Olanipekun called for a more virile and independent Judiciary, noting that the Constitution thrives on the doctrine of separation of powers. He expressed concern over the incessant complaints of poor conditions of service by judges across the country.
On the complex that was commissioned, he said it consists of a 3,000-sitting capacity auditorium, a 240-sitting capacity meeting room, a 1,000-sitting capacity banquet hall, a 1,000-sitting capacity multipurpose hall, committee meeting room, offices for secretariat staff, library, and a courtroom for the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee, amongst others.
Olukayode Ariwoola, Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), described the building as “magnificent and befitting of the Body of Benchers.” Ariwoola noted that the sacrifices of past Chairmen and Presidents of the Body of Benchers has eventually paid off, urging the Body to put the facility to good use, particularly in hosting the call-to-bar ceremonies