The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Monday urged the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Olukayode Ariwoola, to set up a judicial panel of inquiry to probe the alleged ruling party’s influence in the Court of Appeal judgment that sacked Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State.
Recall that the appellate court on Sunday, nullified the election of Mutfwang and declared All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Muntawe Goshwe in the election as the winner of the State’s March 18 poll.
The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, said the Party was appalled when Yusuf Gagdi, an APC member of the House of Representatives from Plateau State, boasted that they know people in the Supreme Court.
According to Ologunagba, Gagdi’s statement confirmed the suspicion in the public domain that the APC had allegedly set up a special team, with the mandate to ensure the inducement of certain judicial officers to deliver judgments against the PDP.
He said: “This statement by Hon. Gagdi also lends 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 biased judgment against Governor Caleb Mutfwang’s victory at the poll 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.”
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Ologunagba added that Gagdi’s declaration explained why the Plateau State Election Appeal Court Panel allegedly snatched the victories won by PDP candidates in the National Assembly elections and awarded the same to APC candidates “in varying, contradictory, and conflicting judgments.”
“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,” he added.
Reacting, the National Publicity Director of the APC, Bala Ibrahim, described the PDP as a bad loser.
“If you are not ready to play by the rules of the game, there is no point entering into the contest. That is exactly what the PDP is doing. They are directly telling the world that they are the ones to determine the rules and how the court should interpret the law.
“The court has not come out to complain. But the PDP is the one screaming that the court has been arm-twisted, muscled and bribed. I think they have to engage caution in their language, otherwise, they are going to give democracy a different name,” the APC said.