Pali v. Abdu [2019] 5 NWLR (Pt. 1665) 320 at 335, paras. G-H, per Eko, JSC:

“The Appellant attempted, unsuccessfully, to “steal” nomination as the candidate of the APC for Alkaleri/Kirfi Federal Constituency, in Bauchi State. He was checkmated. The suit, culminating in this appeal is one of the ploys politicians use, clearly an abuse of Court’s process, to hoodwink the Courts to endorse the illegalities they perfect in the field. But it should be drummed to every ear that the Court, as the last hope of a common man, should not be conversely turned to be the last hope of the corrupt and desperate politicians seeking to wield power by all means.”


Recently, the Supreme Court urged Heads of Court to prevent politicians from abuse of court process. In PDP v. Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff, Rhodes-Vivour, JSC said:

“So, if allowed, political office seekers would not hesitate to file multiplicity of suits on the same subject matter, hoping to get a favourable judgment from one court or the other. Their quest for this includes forum shopping. Heads of court must by now be aware of this trend and stop this annoying practice of assigning cases on the same subject matter to different judges, who very likely would render conflicting decisions, ending up making the judiciary a laughing stock. Trial judges must also be on the lookout, and refrain from proceeding with any case when aware that his brother judge is handling a similar matter.”

The implication of the foregoing is that Nigerian courts are quite aware of the antics of politicians. It is hoped that they will be checkmated at all times whenever the occasion calls.

By the way, why will a politician do anything including manipulating the courts just to gain power? The chief reason amongst others is that in Nigeria today, politics has now proven to be one of the surest sources of wealth, both legally and illegally acquired wealth. How else do you explain why a person will go to any length including desecrating the courts and even corrupting our Judges? Who does all that just to serve the people? No. It is not about service. It is about more and more wealth creation and power acquisition. It is about influence. It is about return on ‘investment’. Politicians invest a lot of time and money. It is difficult to take any loss at elections in good faith.

Whatever the case, Tanko Muhammad, JSC (as he then was) in PDP v. Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff warned:

“…It is time in this country those in politics realised that Nigeria is greater than anybody. The larger interests of the citizen should be first and foremost in the mind of anyone who stands out in the name of fellow countrymen, rather than advancing the glory of personal aggrandizement. It will be a disservice to the society or community who sponsored one for one to fire the embers of hatred, disunity and self-centredness. The glory of anyone who is out to render service to his community is in the happiness and success of that community or supporters.”

While the current political field is filled with filth; and no hope of radical reform is yet in sight, our courts must protect their gates of integrity and nobility from every form of manipulation. They must firmly dispense justice, and remain without blemish in the management of the activities of men.

Stephen Azubuike
Author: Stephen Azubuike
Stephen is a lawyer with expertise in Commercial Dispute Resolution and Technology Law practice. He is a Partner at Infusion Lawyers. He has successfully argued cases from the High Courts of various jurisdictions to the Appellate Courts on behalf of financial institutions, other corporate bodies and multinationals. He has advised a number of both established and startup tech companies. He tweets @siazubuike.
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