Resign now, PDP tells Nigerian Chief Justice Tanko Muhammad

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday accused the Supreme Court under the leadership of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad of having been compromised by the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government. The main opposition party also demanded a review and reversal of the Supreme Court judgment on the Imo State governorship election that nullified the election of its candidate Emeka Ihedioha, who was replaced by Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

 

At a press conference in Abuja by PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, and attended by all members of the National Working Committee (NWC), the PDP also asked the CJN to recuse himself from all PDP-related cases, alleging that he is highly compromised. “In the light of extraordinary circumstances that vitiate that judgment as a product of manipulation and a clear coup d’état against the will of the people of Imo State, we demand that the decision of the Supreme Court on the Imo governorship election be reviewed and reversed in the interest of justice. Furthermore, we demand that Justice Tanko Muhammad, the CJN and his colleagues on the Imo governorship panel recuse themselves from the remaining cases involving PDP in the Supreme Court. We state for the records that the Supreme Court under Justice Tanko Muhammad shall be held responsible if there is any breakdown of law and order in any state as a result of judgments procured solely for political rather than judicial reasons as is currently happening,” he said.

 

Reacting to Tuesday’s ruling, the PDP said: “That the judgment of the Supreme Court voided the lawful election of Hon. Emeka Ihedioha (who scored 276,404 votes) and awarded fictitious votes to declare Hope Uzodinma of the APC, who scored 96,458 votes as governor of Imo State, is highly irrational, unfounded, a provocative product of executive manipulation and a recipe for crisis, which should not be allowed to stand.”

 

Calling on Muhammad to resign as Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), the PDP said: “In order to avoid an imminent breakdown of law and order, the PDP demands that Justice Tanko Muhammad immediately steps down as CJN and chairman of the National Judicial Council as Nigerians have lost confidence in him and the Supreme Court under his leadership.”

 

It demanded: “Justice Muhammad must not head the panel to determine the remaining election petitions before the Supreme Court. The decision of the Supreme Court on the Imo governorship election (must) be reviewed and reversed in the interest of justice. Furthermore, we demand that Justice Tanko Muhammad, the CJN and his colleagues on the Imo governorship panel recuse themselves from the remaining cases involving PDP in the Supreme Court.

 

“We state for the records that the Supreme Court under Justice Tanko Muhammad shall be held responsible if there is any breakdown of law and order in any state as a result of judgments procured solely for political rather than judicial reasons as is currently happening.” The opposition party submitted further: “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.”

 

Describing the constitution of the panel as a product of drama, the PDP claimed: “The panel was changed three times and any judge that showed signs of not agreeing to murder democracy in this case was promptly removed by the CJN. The result had to be unanimous to satisfy the script of rationality. Can any judge who sat on that panel face his creator and swear that impartial justice was done? We think not.”

 

The PDP said it received an intelligence report before the verdict on the Imo governorship election that “the hierarchy of APC had decided they must use the Supreme Court to capture the states won and controlled by the PDP such as Imo, Sokoto, Bauchi, Adamawa and Benue.” The party asked: “Can the PDP rightly trust the impartiality and independence of the panel headed by Justice Tanko Muhammad, 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 Muhammad and his colleagues on the Imo governorship panel not recuse themselves from the remaining cases involving PDP?”

 

The PDP said it firmly believed: “If the flawed judgment of the Supreme Court on the Imo governorship election is allowed to stand, it would be a recipe for anarchy, chaos and constitutional crisis not only in Imo State but in the entire country. Our party has it on good authority that Justice Muhammad and his panel are working on instruction from certain forces in the presidency to use the Supreme Court to take over states lawfully won by the PDP and award them to the APC.”

 

The PDP therefore advised Justice Muhammad “not to allow himself to be used to push our nation to the path of anarchy and constitutional crisis, as any further attempt to subvert justice in the pending petitions on Sokoto, Bauchi, Benue, Adamawa as well as Kano and Plateau States will be firmly and vehemently resisted.”

 

The ruling APC meanwhile described the call for Muhammad’s resignation as irresponsible. The party’s national vice chairman (South South), Prince Hilliard Eta, told The Guardian that it was unfortunate the PDP had chosen to denigrate the judiciary following its verdict which declared Uzodinma the duly elected governor.

 

“The PDP is a very, very irresponsible party. No reasonable Nigerian needs the party’s directive because of what they have done to the psyche of Nigerians over the years. It is shameful that the same PDP that described the Supreme Court as the bastion of democracy and the hope of the common man is now going to town insulting the same institution of the judiciary.

 

“The PDP is fortunate because if I were in the shoes of the national chairman of our party, I would kill it and destroy it completely so that their ashes would give rise to another responsible opposition party in the country,” he said. He urged the justices of the apex court to remain steadfast in the discharge of their duties and not allow any form of blackmail and intimidation.