Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad, yesterday, swore in 85 judges who will adjudicate on election petition tribunals in the Edo and Ondo states’ governorship polls.
The CJN, however, urged the members to be firm and not to be swayed by sentiments and blackmail in the course of discharging their duties after the main elections and by-elections.
He said: “There is no doubt that temptations, tribulations, intimidations and even sheer blackmails may be unleashed on you. But as thoroughbred judicial officers, you must gird your loins to rise above all and do what will earn you accolade in the court of public opinion.
“You are expected to conduct your affairs within the ambit of the law and the oath that has just been administered on you, as anything short of that will place you on the wrong side of history and God will ask you questions that you may not be confident enough to answer.”
The CJN warned that he would not condone any act of recklessness, abuse of power and public trust.
“This is a rare opportunity, and you must give a good account of yourselves. You should count yourselves worthy to be so entrusted with this humongous responsibility of deciding the fate of those who would be contesting the highest political offices in Edo and Ondo, and some other political offices in other states by virtue of the forthcoming elections,” he added.
MEANWHILE, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has concluded arrangement to deploy five Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) and 13,000 other staff to oversee the conduct of the Edo election on September 19.
Giving insight into the commission’s preparedness to ensure a hitch-free poll in Edo, a source privy to the planning informed The Guardian yesterday that those who might be scheming to sabotage the elections were in for a big surprise, as all strategies had been emplaced to abort their plans.
The source revealed that four of the five RECs were drawn from four geo-political zones to join the Edo REC for the election.
Aside the ad hoc staff, Presiding Officers (POs), Assistant Presiding Officers (APOs), Supervising Presiding Officers (SPOs) and other support staff, the commission will also engage 211 collation and returning officers for the Edo poll.
To ensure a fool-proof process, the source disclosed that all accreditations for the election, including the media, would be done online.