As Nigeria observes International Workers’ Day on Monday with the rest of the world, organized labour and the civil society coalition, working together under the auspices of the Citizens’ Democratic Movement, have urged the country’s judiciary, particularly the judges of the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, to help safeguard democracy by treating all the election petitions that have been brought before them fairly.
The movement, which was made up of a number of youth and civil society organizations, insisted that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had severely harmed the nation’s democracy with its dismal performance at the elections. They also promised to expose corrupt leaders.
Co-conveners of the movement included Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, Comrade Shehu Sanni, Ambassador Nkoyo Toyo, Professor Udenta Udenta, Salisu Mohammed, and Olawale Okunniyi. Meanwhile, both the president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joseph Ajaero, and the general secretary of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Nuhu Toro, were present.
To remember the historic struggles and victories experienced by workers and the labour movement, Nigerian workers joined their counterparts throughout the world.
Leading Nigerian figures took part in the May Day festivities by congratulating the nation’s workers for their bravery, dedication, and patriotism.
Ajaero, who entered the Citizens’ Democratic Movement meeting in the middle, pleaded with the judiciary to take advantage of the chance to restore its tarnished reputation by deciding on the petitions from the general election of 2023.
He said the labour movement and its allies were prepared this time to monitor the operations of the judiciary.
To undermine Nigerians’ desires and interests, the NLC president declared that labour and its supporters would not be afraid to publicly denounce judges who were known to have compromised neutrality.
Ajaero said the judiciary had through its many flops attracted many questions from Nigerians, adding, “If they fail to answer those questions within a short time, we would create a hall of shame for those judges that come up with judgements, for those judges that create such problems, that would happen soon.”
He continued by saying that the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and other branches of the judiciary needed to speak out against events in the system and truthfully consider if it was still the ordinary man’s final resort.
Ajaero added, “It is either they fulfil it or they betray it once again. When they tell you to go to the court, they’re telling you that, that is the end of the matter. Somebody will steal yam and say go to the court. On what basis are those statements being used?
“That’s the level of ridicule that the judiciary has been brought and as Nigerians, we all need to come out to rescue the judiciary, else there’ll be no need to continue go to court.”
NLC identified with the movement, according to Ajaero, not necessarily based on politics but rather in order to save the nation.