The Centre for Social Justice, a human rights and rule of law advocacy group, has called on the defeated governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State, Mr. Ladi Adebutu and members of Ogun PDP to stop their verbal tirades against judges and the judiciary.
The group in a press statement issued in Abeokuta and signed by its Coordinator, Adeniyi Olusegun Isaac , described assaults on judges by Adebutu and Ogun PDP as “an attack on the judiciary and democracy.”
The statement read in part: “It would be recalled that Ladi Adebutu and a chieftain of the People’s Democracy Party (PDP) in Ogun State, Segun Sowunmi, have taken to the mass media to attack judges and the judiciary after losing the case filed by the PDP/Ladi Adebutu against APC/Dapo Abiodun at the Court of Appeal in Lagos.
“The self-acclaimed ‘Otunba’ Sowunmi, in a viral message he shared on the social media on Friday, November 24, 2023, the day the Honourable Justices of the Court of Appeal delivered their verdict, remarked that: ‘We are at such a moment where it seems no one is sure of Justice in judgements’.”
Sowunmi remarked further while praising the minority judgment over a majority judgment that we are “in this era of judicial confusion that has left many high-ranking members of both the Bench and Bar, wondering what the law is and how the clear statutes should be interpreted.”
On his part, the defeated and fugitive governorship candidate of the PDP, who is currently standing trial at the High Court on money laundering and vote buying, granted an interview to Channels Television from his hideout in the United Kingdom.
Adebutu, in his usual uncultured manner, poured invectives on the Honourable Justices of the Court of Appeal and those of the Ogun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.
Adebutu described the judges at the Ogun State Election Petition Tribunal as “jokers” and the majority judgment of the Appeal Court as “perverse”, simply because, despite his earlier boasts and that of some of his gullible associates within the PDP, the judgment did not favour them.
The six minutes interview on Channels Television that was viewed globally was later shared widely on the social media by PDP members.
“This is seriously unbecoming of a party that claims to believe in democracy and whose candidate had aspired to occupy the coveted seat of Ogun State Governor.
“The regular attacks on the judges by Adebutu and his cohorts are not only an attack on the judiciary, but also a serious global implications for our democracy and the judiciary . It casts Nigeria in a bad light as a nation where people do not succumb to the rule of law and have no respect for judges and the judiciary.
“Adebutu and his likes need to be educated that a dissenting judgment, however articulate, is not the judgment of the Court and therefore not binding. The judgment of the Court is the majority judgment, which is binding. See Orugbo v Una (2002) 16 NWLR (Pt. 792) 175 at 208 Paragraphs B-C.
“Litigation is not about gambling; he who comes to equity must come with clean hands and those who intends to win in court must not rely on money to make empty boasts, but must be meticulous, upright and painstakingly observe the rules in their presentation,” the statement added.