The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) has been tasked by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with forming a judicial panel and looking into allegations made by the APC that certain members of the judiciary, especially those at the Appeal and Supreme courts, take political party positions when it comes to cases involving elections.
The PDP issued the request through a statement that Debo Ologunagba, the national publicity secretary, signed.
In response to a widely shared video, APC leader and Plateau State representative Yusuf Gagdi remarked, “We have gone to Appeal Court and the final destination is the Supreme Court and we will meet there.” Ologunagba was responding to this statement. There, both they and we will be able to identify who we know and who they know.
The PDP claimed that Gagdi’s remarks validated rumours circulating in the public that the APC had assembled a special team made up of two of its former governors who are currently cabinet ministers and a well-known APC figure from the North East Zone, whose job it is to make sure that certain judges are persuaded to rule against the PDP.
The party went on to say that Gagdi supports claims that a former APC governor paid $5 million to panel members of the Plateau State Election Appeal Court to sway their decision against Governor Caleb Mutfwang’s election victory.
The PDP then demanded that the CJN look into the bribery claim before things get out of control and become a major catastrophe.
The statement reads in part: “Hon. Gagdi’s declaration perhaps explains why the Plateau State Election Appeal Court Panel snatched the victories won by PDP candidates in the National Assembly elections in the state and awarded same to defeated APC candidates in varying, contradictory, and conflicting judgements in appeals with the same subject matter, same facts, same circumstances, and same applicable laws.
“It is therefore not surprising that the current Plateau State Election Appeal Court Panel which has been accused of bias with many Nigerians calling for its disbandment, is the only panel dedicated “solely” to all election appeals from Plateau State, contrary to practice.
“The conduct of the Plateau State Election Appeal Court Panel and the boastings of the APC are eroding integrity, potency, and confidence of Nigerians in the time-tested saying that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man.
“The loss of public confidence being generated by this claim has the capacity to push Nigerians to resort to self-help, which is a recipe for anarchy, chaos, and breakdown of law and order in our country
“The outcome of the appeals decided by the Plateau State Election Appeal Court Panel is generating serious tension in Plateau State as the citizens are already taking to the streets in protest. Our concern is that the situation is capable of escalating into a full-blown crisis in Plateau and other states of the federation if not immediately addressed.
“Insisting that the judiciary remains the last line of defence for our nation’s democracy and political stability, the PDP demands that the CJN, as the head of the Judiciary, set up a high-powered panel to probe the claims by the APC of having persons in both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court as well as investigate the bribery allegations against the Plateau State Election Appeal Court Panel.”
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