The Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) , yesterday, described the judgment of the Supreme Court on the Imo State governorship election dispute as a coup against the people of the state and Nigerians at large.
PDP National chairman, Uche Secondus, at a press briefing in Abuja, described the judgment as a miscarriage of justice, saying it must not be allowed to stand.
Secondus who said the judgment was a recipe for crisis demanded for its review in the interest of justice and the country’s democracy.
The Supreme Court in a unanimous judgement on Tuesday sacked Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP and declared Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress ( APC) as the duly elected governor of the state.
The apex court is scheduled to give judgment in the Sokoto, Benue, Bauchi and Adamawa states governorship dispute won by the PDP, as well as in Kano and Plateau states seats won by the APC.
Governors Aminu Tambuwal, Samuel Ortom , Bala Mohammed and Ahmed Fintiri of Sokoto, Benue, Bauchi and Adamawa states respectively had defeated their APC challengers with very slim margins.
Secondus noted that the PDP had it on good authority that the APC had allegedly concluded plans to take over states won by the PDP through the apex court..
The PDP leader, while faulting the declaration of Hope Uzodinma as the duly elected governor of Imo, questioned the rationale by the apex court to add votes from 388 polling units hitherto cancelled by INEC to the score of the APC candidate.The PDP chairman said it was curious to note that the apex court panel that presided over the Imo governorship election dispute was reportedly changed thrice.
Secondus noted that it would be difficult to trust the Supreme Court panel headed by the CJN to be impartial and independent in handling other pending governorship appeal cases involving the party. He also suggested that Justice Tanko Mohammed and his colleagues on the Imo governorship panel recuse themselves from the remaining cases involving PDP.
Said Secondus: “With the verdict, the Supreme Court executed a coup against the PDP and the people of Imo state as well as other Nigerians, and such must not be allowed to have a place in our democracy.
“What is more perplexing is the fact that INEC produced a schedule of reasons why results were not produced from the 388 units. Indeed election did not even take place in most of the units for one reason or another, like violence, etc and so no result could possibly be obtained from those units. The results were not merely rejected or cancelled by INEC. None of the candidates or their Counsel, except perhaps APC, as we speak, are aware of the number of votes scored by each party from the 388 polling units. The tribunal or Court of Appeal did not mention or ascribe any figure from the units to any party in their decisions.
“In fact, in the cross examination of the APC candidate, Hope Uzodinma, he could not read any figure from the “Oluwole” results. He said that the figures were not clear. And so it beats our imagination where the Supreme Court conjured and manufactured the figures it used in declaring Uzodinma/APC as duly elected. How then did the Supreme Court arrive at its decision to allocate results to void a lawful governorship election and imposed an unelected person as governor?
“The fact is that, the Supreme Court, as presently constituted under Justice Tanko, has lost its credibility and no longer commands the respect and confidence of Nigerians. If the people no longer repose confidence in the Supreme Court, then our democracy, national cohesion and stability are at great risk,” said Secondus.
“We had intelligence before the verdict on Imo that the hierarchy of APC had decided that they must use the Supreme Court to capture states won and controlled by the PDP such as Imo, Sokoto, Bauchi, Adamawa and Benue. Can the PDP rightly trust the impartiality and independence of the panel headed by Justice Tanko Mohammed, the CJN, to adjudicate on the remaining cases involving the PDP like Kano, Sokoto, Benue, Bauchi, Adamawa, Plateau and others?
“Is the same fate awaiting the governors of these states that are controlled by the PDP and other states like Kano where the PDP clearly won and was robbed? Should Justice Tanko Mohammed and his colleagues on the Imo Governorship Panel not recuse themselves from the remaining cases involving PDP?”
Consequently, Secondus noted that “in other to avoid an imminent breakdown of law and order, the PDP demands that Justice Tanko Mohammed immediately steps down as CJN and chairman of the National Judicial Council as Nigerians have lost confidence in him and a Supreme Court under his leadership. Justice Tanko must not head the panel to determine the remaining election petitions before the Supreme Court.”
Reacting, the APC chided the PDP to stop disturbing its celebration of recovering its stolen mandate with their wolves’ cry.
“APC is not interested in whatever PDP is saying about the Supreme Court judgement on Imo State. We are celebrating our victory because we have recovered our stolen mandate. We cannot stop PDP from crying because they have the right to do that. So, let them enjoy the crying while we enjoy the celebration,” the party’s spokesman, Lanre Issa-Onilu, told Daily Sun.
However, human rights group, Liberty Access and Peace Defenders’ Foundation (HURIDE) has described the Supreme Court judgement sacking Emeka Ihedioha as an electoral robbery and urged Nigerians to rise in defence of democracy.
The group demanded that Imo people and Nigerians prepare for a massive protest against the judgment on Saturday, January 18 in Owerri.
Chairman of HURIDE, Dede Uzor, in a statement, said the judges had shown that they could not be trusted by Nigerians as “the last hope of the common man”.
“How can somebody who came fourth in an election be declared Governor. The judiciary has bastardised our democracy. Nigerians have lost hope in our judiciary. Nigerian judiciary is undergoing crucifixion and bastardisation by those who suppose to defend it,” he said.
Uzor urged Nigerians to put on black cloths or band around their heads or arms to mourn and protest the destruction of democracy by the apex court judges as from January 18.
“That day is going to be watershed in the history of Nigeria to mark the mourning of the attempt to kill democracy in the country through the instrumentality of the Supreme Court pronouncement on Imo governorship election,” Uzor stated.
The group also warned clerics to steer clear from politics and face their Ecclesiastcial callings instead of being agents of oligarchy because of pecuniary interest.