Photo: Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, CJN.
PDP urges CJN to probe APC’s alleged judges bribe, judiciary control
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) to immediately set up a Judicial Panel of Inquiry to probe the public boasting by leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that the APC has persons in the judiciary, particularly at the Appeal and Supreme Court levels to do APC’s bidding on election cases before the Courts.
The PDP which made this known in a statement also called on the National Judicial Council (NJC) headed by the CJN to also probe the allegations that a former Governor of the APC reportedly induced members of the Plateau State Election Appeal Court Panel with the sum of $5 million to deliver a bias judgment against Plateau State Gov Caleb Mutfwang.
While pointing accusing fingers at two former APC governors and two ministers as facilitators of the alleged bribe, the main opposition party said that it was necessary for the CJN to defend the integrity of the judiciary by carrying out the probe to enable it come clean in the public domain.
It would be recalled that Nigerians were appalled by such boasting which is contained in a viral video by an APC leader, Mr Yusuf Gagdi, a member of the House of Representatives from Plateau State.
The controversial lawmaker had boasted in the viral video that: “We have gone to the Appeal Court and the final destination is the Supreme Court and we will meet there. That is where we will know whom they know and they will know whom we know.”
According to PDP, Gagdi’s verbal diarrhea has further confirmed the suspicion in the public domain that the APC had set up a special team comprising of two former Governors of the APC who are also serving cabinet ministers and a prominent APC leader from the North East Zone with the mandate to ensure the inducement of certain judicial officers to deliver judgments against the PDP as being witnessed in the series of bias judgments by the Plateau State Election Appeal Court Panel.
It said that Gagdi’s garbage also lent credence to allegations that a former Governor of the APC reportedly induced members of the Plateau State Election Appeal Court Panel with the sum of $5 million to deliver a bias judgment against Plateau State Gov Caleb Mutfwang’s victory at the March 2023 poll.
According to PDP, the judgment which was delivered on Sunday is contrary to the position of the law on nomination of candidates and already established pronouncement of the Supreme Court that a Political Party cannot interfere in the internal affairs of another Party.
The party said that Gagdi’s gaffe perhaps explained 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 judgments 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 is eroding integrity, potency and confidence of Nigerians in the time-tested saying that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man.
“More worrisome is that the public claim by the APC that it has persons even at the Supreme Court has directly put the integrity and honour of the highest temple of Justice in our country at stake,” the statement said.
PDP said it was worrisome that the loss of public confidence being generated by Gagdi’s 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 noted that the outcome of the Appeals decided by the Plateau State Election Appeal Court Panel was generating serious tension in Plateau State as the citizens were 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.
“The Judiciary remains the last line of defence for our nation’s democracy and political stability, hence, the CJN, as the head of the Judiciary, should 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.
“What Nigerians expect at this moment is for the judiciary to come clean on these grave allegations as well as uphold the primacy of pronouncements by the Supreme Court in the dispensation of justice on election matters,” the statement signed by PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, added.