A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Jibrin Okutepa, has called on politicians across the country to have a change of heart for democracy to thrive.
Okutepa who featured as a guest on a special end of the year programme on Channels Television on Thursday insisted that the political system lacked democracy.
He also decried the situation where judges were purportedly manipulated by politicians who run to courts to achieve their purpose after losing out in an election.
“I think Nigerian politicians need to be born again to embrace democracy; what we are witnessing in Nigeria is not a democracy, it is a reminiscence of a military dictatorship in the civilian garment and so, there is no internal democracy, and they are carrying over these undemocratic practices to our courts, and it becomes a ‘do or die’ affair,” the senior lawyer said.
Stressing that he has no interest in any political office, he took a swipe at politicians who he perceived not to believe in democracy.
According to Okutepa, politics in Nigeria is built on individuals rather than the sovereignty of the people and that is unacceptable.
He decried that the repeated crisis in various parties was a result of the lack of internal democracy within the political groups.
Judgements Devoid Of Justice
The legal practitioner believes rather than democracy, what is seen across political parties appears to be authoritarianism.
He alleged that such practices were not limited to the parties alone as politicians have decided to extend them to the courts.
The senior advocate stated that it was important for politicians to allow the judiciary to function properly while the judiciary should not fall into the traps of politicians.
He said, “I have said times without number that in most cases in our courts, we have judgements devoid of justice and what Nigerians look for is justice … in most of these places, what you see in our political cases are political judgements that rarely take into account with respect, the sovereignty of the people.”
“Without being apologetic to anybody, Nigerian politicians must leave our judiciary to function; if we don’t allow the judiciary to function, then we are heading towards a crisis situation.
“The judiciary too must not allow themselves to be manipulated,” said Okutepa.