…as CUPP alleges APC govt plot to manipulate apex court
The Presidential Candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last Presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has commended Nigerians for their supports since he indicated his intention to run for the Presidency till last week when the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal delivered its verdict and solicited for more in the journey ahead.
This was contained in an open letter to Nigerians he personally signed and made available to newsmen in Abuja on Friday.
He also gave reasons for approaching the Supreme Court to pursue his ambitions through the judicial process rather than resorting to self-help
The letter reads, ” I write to personally thank you for your support for our shared common goal and the solidarity I enjoyed from all walks of life and every stratum of society, right from July 21, 2018, when I informed you, the good people of Nigeria, that I would contest the 2019 Presidential election, to Wednesday, September 11, 2019, when the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal rendered its verdict
“Nothing good comes easy, and hard as the task to rid Nigeria from the forces of fascism, and be an instrument for the full restoration of the rule of law and democracy in Nigeria is, your support makes the struggle worthwhile
” I owe so much to this great land of Nigeria that took me from the streets of Jada, where I sold firewood, to the heights I have attained, by God’s benevolence, in the civil service, incorporate Nigeria, and in public service
” If I do not play my part in making it possible for other orphaned children, indigent youths and the less privileged, to replicate and even surpass my path to significance, I would have failed my Maker. If I do not ensure that the ladder I climbed remains accessible to those at the bottom, middle and top tiers of society, I would not have fulfilled my purpose
“And only by ensuring that democracy is not just done, but seen to be done, can Nigeria and Nigerians have a sense that this our dear land is indeed a land where Unity, Faith, Peace and Progress reside
” It is for this, and other patriotic reasons, that I am pursuing this judicial route: To ensure that the votes of Nigerians count and are counted
“Yes, those who do not want this as Nigeria’s reality will use every trick in the book to undermine, discourage, misinform and mislead, but with God’s help and the support of Nigerians, we will ensure that Nigeria makes a course correction away from tyranny and towards democracy
“We must return to being Africa’s bastion of democracy, where the rights to Freedom of Speech and Freedom after the Speech, are guaranteed. We must stand together to pursue this just cause all the way so that our judiciary is not afraid to do their jobs and have to be wary of blackmail, intimidation, and victimisation
” I note the immense outpouring of goodwill from ordinary Nigerians in every nook and cranny of Nigeria and from all regions, religions and relationships. Once again I thank you all for your support. I also thank the governors elected on the platform of my party, the Peoples Democratic Party, as well as the National Executive Committee, for their unanimous and unambiguous support for the judicial phase of this struggle, especially after it was announced that we would go on to appeal
“I urge all Nigerians to continue their support for this recourse to constitutional order via the courts. Even if there is little or nothing you can do to ensure that justice is done in Nigeria, just believe that it will happen. Let us never underestimate the effect of our belief in Nigeria
“Finally, I say to all concerned, that we will all die and give account of our lives to our Creator.
Meanwhile, the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has alleged a plan to manipulate the composition of the seven-man Supreme Court panel that will hear the appeal of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in respect of the 2019 election.
The coalition’s national spokesman, Imo Ugochinyere, made the allegation at a press conference in Abuja on Friday.
He said, “We are here to inform Nigerians today that the opposition has intercepted credible intelligence, hardcore intelligence of a last assault on the institution of judiciary represented by the Supreme Court of Nigeria, where there is ongoing perfected desperate attempt by the ruling APC government working with their unrepentant friends in judiciary to constitute members of presidential election panel with justices whose only reason of being selected is the guaranteed assurance that no matter what the law says, the President must be returned and affirmed against all known principles of our constitutional governance.
“We have intercepted a secret list of a seven-man panel of the Justices of Supreme Court about to be announced by the Chief Justice of Nigeria in a manner that jettisoned the age-long tradition of selecting the members of the panel on the order of seniority.
“To ensure that nothing is left undone, the proposed screening of the nominated Justices of Supreme Court which was hitherto scheduled to take place in October 2019 was brought forward and concluded yesterday (Friday) in a gestapo manner and ready to be sent to the Senate for immediate confirmation.”
He added, “Fellow Nigerians, the reason for the rush in screening of the proposed Justices of Supreme Court is to use them as ‘Plan B’ for the presidential election appeal where they fail to push through the intercepted list and also not unconnected with the plan to populate the governorship appeal panels with these justices who are sympathetic to the ruling party with the aim of giving favourable judgment and also nullifying elections of governors of opposition states.”
Ugochinyere argued that since Nigeria’s first presidential election in 1979, the tradition at the Supreme Court had been that the seven most senior Justices of the Supreme Court would be empanelled for the purpose of determining the presidential election appeal.
..’leaks’ list of nominees into Supreme Court
Meanwhile, the CUPP released a list containing justices who it said had been shortlisted for appointment as Supreme Court justices.
Ugochinyere made the list available to journalists in Abuja.
According to him, the list contains names of three justices of the Appeal Court who are members of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal who recently upheld the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said the list vindicated members of the opposition.
Ugochinyere wrote, “Evidence of reward for turning the law upside down? Opposition has been vindicated!
“See the names of three of the Appeal Court Justices (Justices Muhammed L. Garba, Abdu Aboki and Samuel Oseji) who sat at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal that upheld Buhari’s election under controversial circumstances have been tipped among the Justices that are about to be hurriedly elevated to the Supreme Court.
“Is this a reward for declaring Buhari winner of an election he was not even eligible to contest?”
The document made available to journalists was marked “National Judicial Council of Nigeria. Committee on interview for appointment of judicial officers into superior courts of records. 18th September 2019.”
According to the document, six justices were listed as recommended candidates while six others were listed as reserve candidates.
Those who are recommended candidates are Justice MB Dongban-Mensem, Justice Adamu Jauro, Justice Mohammed Garba, Justice Emmanuel Agim, Justice Biobele Georgewill and Justice Helen Ogunwumiju.
Those on the reserve list are Justice Ridwan Abdullahi, Justice Tijjani Abubakar, Justice Abdu Aboki, Justice Rita Pemu, Justice C. Oseji and Justice Joseph Oyewole.
But an official of NJC who did not want to be named claimed that the list cannot be true.
“The list cannot be true. When did they hold the interview where the list emanated from? It can’t be true,” he said.