AGAINST the backdrop of the plan by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa to reconstitute members of the Osun State governorship election tribunal, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Friday tasked the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen and the National Judicial Council (NJC) not to allow the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) turn the proceedings of the tribunal into cesspool of scandal.
The party said it is germane for all stakeholders, most especially the CJN and the NJC to protect the integrity of the nation’s judiciary, with a view to further boost the confidence of all Nigerians in the rule of law and strengthen democratic institution in the country.
These were contained in a press statement signed by the deputy national publicity secretary of the PDP, Prince Diran Odeyemi which was forwarded to TribuneOnline in Osogbo.
Expressing fear of possible political interference in the composition of a new panel to adjudicate over the just concluded governorship election in Osun, the PDP said: “It is a known fact that the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, who is empowered by the constitution to set up panels for governorship election tribunals has very close affinity with the APC, which is one of the respondents in the petition filed by the PDP candidate, Senator Nurudeen Ademola Adeleke.
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According to the statement: “The eldest son of Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, Aliyu Haidar Abubakar Bulkachuwa was until recently a governorship aspirant of the APC in Gombe State. Her husband was also known to be a foundation member of the All Progressive Congress.”
“We are worried that the sudden disbandment of the tribunal earlier set up by the President of the Court of Appeal might be due to the insistence of members of the disbanded panel to do justice in the petition without fear or favour.”
“We equally have it on good authority that senior members of the APC and the Osun State Government have boasted in several quarters that the new panel chairman and members are recommended by governors elected on the platform of the party as those who would do the bidding of the APC. We are also aware of the plot to foot-drag on the commencement of trial as a way to wasting a substantial part of the maximum number of days prescribed by the constitution for the hearing of Governorship Election Petition. ”
“Our party considers these developments as signalling a very dangerous trend in judicial review of elections in Nigeria. We are worried that the President of the Court of Appeal may be under considerable pressure to compromise on her oath of office to do justice to all manner of persons regardless of political leanings.”
“The PDP, therefore, urge the Chief Justice of the Federation and the National Judicial Council to ensure that the hearing of the Osun State governorship election petition does not become a cesspool of scandals that may lower the integrity of the judiciary in the eyes of the general public and the international community.”
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