The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and the President of the Court of Appeal to save the nation’s democracy by insulating the Courts from the alleged influence of the anti-people cabal aiming to emasculate the judiciary and impose a totalitarian regime.
The acting national chairman of the PDP, Ambassador Umar Ilya Damagum, who made the call at a press conference in Abuja, yesterday also urged the heads of the Judiciary to restore confidence in the Judiciary by immediately disbanding the present Plateau State Election Appeal Court Panel, set up a new Appeal Panel and subject the bias judgments by the Plateau State Election Appeal Court Panel to judicial review.
Damagum said this is the only way to avoid a crisis in Plateau State and redeem the image of the Judiciary from further negative public commentary.
The acting national chairman declared that the PDP will not relent in all its efforts to defend and preserve the nation’s democracy, respect for the Will of the people as well as the integrity of the Judiciary particularly in the handling of electoral matters in the country.
“In this regard, the PDP invites all well-meaning Nigerians, Civil Society Organizations, the Media and indeed all lovers of democracy across the world to rise to the occasion, speak out and take urgent legitimate steps to defend the integrity of our judicial system and stem a looming crisis in our beloved country”, the leading opposition party in the country said.
The PDP lamented what it called the underhanded design by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to cripple the country’s democracy, overthrow the democratic rights of Nigerians, suppress the Rule of Law and downgrade the nation to a fiefdom run by the whims of a cabal.
According to the PDP, “This sinister agenda tailored towards a systemic emasculation of the opposition and foisting of an oppressive one-Party system is evident in the conduct and outcome of certain election petitions in Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Delta, Ogun and other States of the nation where the Election Petition and Appeal Panels were used to rob the PDP of victory won at the polls.
“Also of serious concern is the continuing stay of the patently bias Plateau State Election Appeal Court Panel sitting in Abuja despite widespread demands by the people of Plateau State and the PDP for its immediate disbandment having regards to its varying and contradictory judgments against the PDP, which are also in conflict with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the Electoral Act, 2022, INEC’s Guidelines and Regulations for elections”, it said.
Ambassador Damagum recalled how he, as the acting National Chairman of the PDP addressed a petition to the President of the Court of Appeal “wherein I officially restated the findings and demands of the PDP against the Plateau State Election Appeal Court Panel”.
Continuing, he said, “It is however curious and disturbing that up till this moment, none of the issues or demands made by the PDP has been addressed or met.
“The continuing stay of the Appeal Panel is clearly pitching the people against the Court and the Institution of the Judiciary.
“It is vexatious, inciting and amounts to snubbing an affronted and injured people and daring them to do their worse.
“The consequence is that the Judiciary is allowing itself to be seen as an institution that has no regards for the sovereignty of the people and their constitutionally guaranteed rights in an electoral process under our laws.
“Also, it paints the Judiciary in the image of an insensitive institution which has no respect for the Rule of Law.
“The concern and fear of all well-meaning Nigerians is that when the Court, as in this case, conducts itself as if it is not governed by Rules, it destroys the respect and confidence of the people in the judiciary and such portends a great danger for democracy, peace and tranquility in our country”, the PDP said.