Justice Ibrahim Auta, the outgoing Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, has said that the court resisted attempts to prevent President Muhammadu Buhari from contesting the 2015 general elections.
Mr. Auta stated this on Tuesday in Abuja at a special court session to usher in the 2017/2018 legal year.
He said that the court stood firm by insisting that candidates be allowed to test their popularity at the polls.
He said, “Despite all pressures to stop certain members of the National Assembly as a result of their abandonment of the party that brought them into power, the court insisted that every candidate must be allowed to test his/her popularity.
“Secondly, the attempt to stop the president from contesting was rejected by this court.
“This is because, we in the Federal High Court preferred a level playing ground to all candidates.”
According to him, it is this option and insistence of this court that has kept the country together during and after the election.
He further said that the nation owed the judiciary the debt of gratitude for the unity of the nation.
Mr. Auta also said that as part of efforts to enhance the speedy dispensation of justice, the court appointed 30 judges, saying that that this has impacted positively on the court.
The outgoing chief judge disclosed that the appointment of 10 more judges of the court was underway as the process was already 80 per cent complete.
He urged the judges to remain steadfast and firm by dispensing justice without fear or favour and always considering the law and not personalities when deciding cases.
The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN), in his speech, said that the Federal High Court had contributed immensely to effective and efficient justice delivery in the country.
Mr. Malami, who was represented by the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Dayo Apata, said an efficient and incorruptible judiciary was necessary to achieve meaningful development.
The AGF, who is also the Minister of Justice, urged the judges to deliver judgments in accordance with the law with firmness.
He pledged the support of his office in ensuring that the Federal High Court remained the court of refuge for the common man.
Joe Gadzama (SAN), who represented the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, said that the new legal year was an avenue for stock taking to review areas where mistakes were made with a view to correcting them.
He commended the nation’s judiciary, describing it as the best in the world, adding that the Federal High Court had the highest impact in the country.