The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday, frowned at the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the latter’s call on the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) to resign his position.
APC’s National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, who addressed journalists at the party’s national headquarters in Abuja, argued that the PDP lacks the moral latitude to question the decision of the Supreme Court on the declaration of Senator Hope Uzodinma as winner of last year’s Imo State governorship poll.
Oshiomhole, who recalled how the PDP went out of its ways to applaud the unfavourable Supreme Court decision against the APC in Zamfara, Sokoto and Rivers states, said it beats his imagination that the PDP chose to throw caution to the wind to malign the same apex court simply because the verdict on the Imo governorship appeal did not favour the party.
He said PDP’s decision to call on the apex court’s Justices to recluse themselves from hearing the appeals on Sokoto, Benue, Adamawa and Kano states governorship polls was tantamount to cheap blackmail.
Accusing the PDP of laying the foundation for votes rigging in the polity, he assured that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration would do all within its powers to ensure electoral reform before the end of his tenure, saying: “The interest of the Nigeria nation and our democracy is far more important than the interest of any political party and certainly not the interest of any governorship candidate, whether it is of the APC or PDP.
“PDP has lost a state they never won and that the Supreme Court in their supreme wisdom re-established the fact that these 388 units that were not counted are part and parcel of state and therefore cannot be wished away and they have accordingly added them and they found that Uzodinma is not only the highest scorer, he also has the spread to be declared the winner of that election in Imo State.
“We commend the courage of the Supreme Court and we condemn in strongest term possible, the attempt by PDP’s National Chairman, Uche Secondus, and his party to try to personalise a panel of eminent Jurists, all seven of them in their unanimous judgment, it was clear that this is the question of the law and these are the facts.
“For PDP and Secondus to call for the resignation of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) because they have lost a state that was never there is the height of recklessness.
“…It is clearly stated that to win the governorship seat of a state, the candidate must not only score the highest vote in that election, but must also have two-thirds of local government areas to qualified to be declared the winner of governorship election in each of the 36 states of the federation.”
Oshiomhole has earlier, in a related development, filed petition against Justice Augusta U. Kingsley-Chukwu of the Rivers State High Court for breach of the code of conduct for judicial office.
The petition, which was forwarded to the Chief Judge (CJ) of Rivers State requesting reassignment of the suit involving his party to another Judge for adjudication, followed the Supreme Court’s nullification of the party’s congresses in the state, effectively disqualifying it from participating in last year’s governorship, national and state assemblies elections in the state.
According to the petition, the APC had reasonable apprehension that Justice Kingsley-Chukwu might not be able to discharge her duties as a judicial officer objectively without bias, based on the discovery that her husband is a PDP chieftain, who had previously contested for position of chairman of Obio/Akpor Council and currently serving as legal adviser of the party in the state.
The petition reads: “I expected Justice Augusta U. Kingsley-Chukwu to have followed the time honoured tradition of judicial officers like Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, President of Court of Appeal, and Justice Mary Peter-Odili of the Supreme Court, who had rescued themselves from adjudicating over cases that would likely impact on the political interest of their spouses.
“Disappointingly, Justice Kingsley-Chukwu proceeded to entertain the suit and granted an injunction restraining the APC and the caretaker committee from taking any steps whatsoever.”
“Curiously, the court did not consider either the pending applications, but proceeded to grant the injunction upon the oral application of the plaintiff’s Counsel, despite the fact that the injunction granted was different from the reliefs sought in either the applications or the substantive suit.”