OPINION : The Law Courts, Nigerians And Our Democracy– By Nche Bikwe.

Mr. Nche Bikwe 
The law courts play very vital roles in a society through the administration of justice -interpretation of the laws of the land; protection of rights and privileges of the weak; settlement of dispute between government institutions, individuals, communities, or persons and government.

As humans, our everyday struggle for survival involves muscle flexing, and so long as individuals continue to hold different views to issues of life because of the different training and experiences we have been exposed to, disputes will continue to occur over lands, over religion, over tribes, over power, over money, over food and even over gods.

In civilized environments, when dispute occurs and the parties involved fails to resolve it among themselves, they approach the court of law for it to decide how best such disputes can be resolved.

Here in Nigeria, most persons, the educated and elites inclusive are yet to understand the functions of the courts. The few who do, hate the courts so much that when you take a person or community to court, you have made yourself his/their lifetime enemy that should never be forgiven. The story will be told from one generation to another alongside the instruction not to ever forgive such action carried out by such person.

Anytime we (Nigerians) disagree over an issue, we prefer to dilly dally and lament for as long as possible without any way forward, and most times allow things degenerate to violence and wanton destruction of properties or loss of lives, then on rare occasion end up in the court which we should have approached a long time before the matter got worse.

Since the return to this present democratic dispensation, several issues have been settled in the courts. Recall, the creation of Local Government Areas between the states and federal government in the fourth and fifth dispensation, this matter caused so much heat in the polity and undue distraction to governance for a long time before the Lagos state government under Asiwaju Bola Tinubu took the federal government to court where the matter was finally resolved.

There were other issues like States and local government joint revenue accounts, impeachment process between states houses of assemblies and state executives, and many more that after so much bickering and grandstanding in the usual Nigerian style, the courts were approached and there were also resolved.

On Wednesday July 12, 2017, the Supreme Court again resolved the People Democratic Party (PDP) leadership tussles between Alhaji Ahmed Markafi and Senator Ali Modu Sheriff’s factions. This is another case that made so much mockery of our democracy.

It was quite unfortunate the way the actors handled the matter and really ridiculous was the way the Alhaji Makarfi's faction supported by Rivers state Governor Nyesom Wike a supposed barrister, displayed crass ignorance of the law by not knowing which court between the High court and the Appeal court to approach on the matter.

Not until Justice Okon Abang High Court ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to accept the candidate of the Sherriff’s faction in the 2015 Ondo gubernatorial elections, that the Markafi’s group saw the need of heading to the Appeal Court, at that time lots of damages have been done on the opposition party structure and their role was missing in the democratic sphere.

"A stitch in time, they say saves nine." At the moment, there are issues concerning the powers to screen nominees for public offices; and the right to input projects into the budgets proposal, between the federal executive and the Senate of the National Assembly.

One of the parties should approach the Supreme Courts for clarifications, to save us from further embarrassments, enthrone peace, strengthen our democracy and allow for more concentration on governance.

Nche Bikwe, Medical Laboratory Scientist and a Public affair commentator, Garki II, Abuja, Nigeria.
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