A former governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswan, who was recently sacked as Senator representing Benue North-East Zone, has said that he does not blame the judges of the Appeal Court that presided over his case.
The Court of Appeal in Abuja had on Wednesday dismissed the judgement of the election tribunal, which ruled that Suswam was the validly elected senator of Benue North East Senatorial District.
It faulted the judgement of the Benue State National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal which nullified the election victory of Emmanuel Udende of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and returned Suswam of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the Senate.
Consequently, the appellate court voided the judgement of the tribunal, saying it found merit in the appeal that was lodged before it by the APC candidate.
Reacting to the ruling during a programme on Arise TV, Suswam said, “I think that the CJN has a lot to do in terms of bringing the judges to sit down together and look at some of these new statues that have been passed by the National Assembly and assented by the president. It’s not just the electoral act. There are a lot of statues that have been passed that most judges will be seeing or listening to for the first time when a lawyer comes before them. That shouldn’t be the case.
“It’s expected that as the interpreters of statues, they should be on top of that game. And so I think that we need to reenergize the judiciary. Listening to what the retiring justice of the Supreme Court said means that they are people who work a lot and in terms of what comes to them, they’re highly discounted.
“So, there are a lot of issues in this country that we shouldn’t just limit because we lost the election in court and then put the whole blame on the judges.
“Coming to my own situation, I won the case at the tribunal. And that’s what I’m saying. The same interpretation, the same section that gave me victory at the tribunal in Benue was interpreted differently at the Apex Court. My concern is that if that continues, the confidence in judiciary will continue to erode. Because one would’ve expected that if one judge gives an interpretation of a section, that should flow through, otherwise, confidence in the process is eroding very fast.
“But I don’t actually place the blame on the judges because given the condition and the environment under which they work, we would not expect anything much from the judiciary except when their working conditions are enhanced.
“So, I don’t blame the judges on my case, but I blame the system. There’s a problem with the system.”