The recent revelations concerning incredible cases of corruption in the top echelon of the Nigerian judiciary bring to the spotlight a research paper written in 2014 by Hakeem Onapajo and Ufo Okeke Uzodike.
The study published in the Journal of African Elections argued, with empirical evidence from qualitative interviews, law reports, newspaper reports and party publications, that there is a judicial dimension to the phenomenon of electoral fraud in Nigeria.
Primarily drawn from the doctoral thesis of Onapajo, the study posited that the Nigerian judiciary, despite the existence of the Nigerian Judicial Council (NJC), is structured to be dependent on the executive and legislative bodies, making it susceptible to manipulations by the political class.
Moreover, the paper interrogated the powers of the judiciary to determine winners in a contested election because this is mostly treated in other democracies as a “political question” that is not justiciable.
Following this, the paper showed several instances of corruption in the judiciary and how they affect the quality of elections in Nigeria.
According to the authors, “elections which cannot be legitimately won at the polls may be won in the courts with the aid of some manipulation of the judicial process.”