Former military head of state, Yakubu Gowon, has advised aggrieved candidates in the general election to accept the verdict of the election petition tribunals and the supreme court.
On Thursday, during the 15th edition of the Punuka Annual Lecture 2023 held in Abuja to honour the late Supreme Court Justice, Chukwunweike Idigbe, General Gowon emphasised the crucial role played by the judiciary in the process of nation-building. He further advocated for the independence of the judiciary to enable them to carry out their duties effectively.
The ex-president stated that the judiciary has a crucial role in the development of the nation and in maintaining national unity.
The judiciary, fundamentally, serves as the protector of the constitution and the principles of law and order. The judiciary serves as a means of checks and balances on the powers of the executive and legislative branches, and is responsible for safeguarding the rights and freedoms of citizens through the court system.
“As a former military leader, I have seen and known firsthand the importance of the judiciary in maintaining stability and order in our society.
“The judiciary serves as the bedrock of our democracy, and it is only through a strong, independent and impartial judiciary that we can ensure the protection of our democracy and the advancement of our nation.
“As we move forward as a nation, let us not forget the role that the judiciary plays in nation building especially the apex court in its carrying out its duty of questioning the veracity of the decisions of the lower courts.
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“As such, we need to allow the apex court, their deliberations, come up with their decisions and as the public to be humble enough to accept their decision as final in order to maintain the sanctity of the judiciary as individuals and institutions.
“The litigation tribunals that are now going, let us give the judiciary the opportunity to do their work and let us accept their decisions as it is.”
Extolling the late jurist, Gowon said Idigbe’s life and works on and off the bench, “exemplify the ideals of integrity, courage, and service”.
“His unwavering dedication to justice and fairness has been a source of inspiration to many, and his legacy will continue to live on for generations to come,” he added