Plateau elections: ‘Probe APC’s ‘claim’ of influence over judiciary’ – PDP tells CJN


The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday called on the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) to defend the integrity of the judiciary by immediately setting up a judicial panel of inquiry to probe the boast by leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that the party has persons in the judiciary, particularly at the Appeal and Supreme courts, to do the party’s bidding on election cases.

PDP made the call in a statement signed by Debo Ologunagba, its national publicity secretary while reacting to a viral video by an APC leader, Yusuf Gagdi, a member of the House of Representatives from Plateau State, who said: “We have gone to 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.”

PDP also claimed that Gagdi’s statement further confirms the suspicion in the public domain that the APC has set up a special team comprising two of its former governors 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 judgements against PDP as witnessed in the series of ‘biased judgements’ by the Plateau State Election Appeal Court panel.

It added that Gagdi also lends credence to allegations that a former APC Governor reportedly induced members of the Plateau State Election Appeal Court panel with $5 million to deliver a biased judgement against Governor Caleb Mutfwang’s victory at the poll, contrary to the position of the law on the nomination of candidates and the already established pronouncement of the Supreme Court that a political party cannot interfere in the internal affairs of another party.

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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