The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) were, at the weekend, locked in a verbal duel over the Supreme Court judgment which replaced PDP’s Emeka Ihedioha with APC’s Hope Uzodinma as governor of Imo State.
PDP, on Saturday, lambasted the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, “for attempting to politicise the accursed judgment of the Supreme Court on the Imo State governorship election despite evident consensus by the generality of Nigerians for a review.”
In a statement in Abuja by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, the party described as “loathsome” that Oshiomhole could resort to “hauling insult and gutter language” on Nigerians, including PDP leaders, “in his desperate bid to divert public attention from the perversion of justice by the Supreme Court in favour of APC.”
But reacting to PDP’s position, APC governors expressed concern over PDP’s condemnation of the judgment, describing the action as “an invitation to anarchy.”
The APC governors in a statement signed by Kebbi State governor, who is the chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, viewed the stance of the PDP as an affront on the judicial institution which they noted was the sanctuary of democracy.
The PDP had in its reaction decried what it claimed was “Oshiomohole’s desperation to blur public agitation against the injustice”, saying it “further confirms that APC is in league with Justice Mohammed Tanko-led Supreme Court in perverting justice in the Imo State governorship election judgment, as well as the heinous plots to use the court to take over other PDP-controlled states of Bauchi, Sokoto, Adamawa and Benue
“The PDP is aware of why Oshiomhole has suddenly become the mouthpiece of the Supreme Court.
“We have reliable information that certain justices of the court have been blaming APC leaders and the Presidency for compromising and dragging them into the disgraceful plots; the reason Oshiomhole now desperately seeks to politicise the issue and divert public attention as a stop-gap measure.
“This attempt is indeed dead on arrival as the PDP, standing with the generality of Nigerians and lovers of democracy all over the world, will not relent in mobilising the citizens in pursuit of an end to this and many other injustices that pervade our nation presently
“Of course, Oshiomhole and Justice Tanko Mohammed are reminded that, as stated by Thomas Jefferson, “when injustice becomes law, resistance become duty.”
“In spite of all the attacks, the PDP will still not be deterred but will remain focused with the generality of Nigerians in our irrevocable determination to take all steps necessary to reverse the injustice on Imo as well as stop the APC on its trail to use the Supreme Court to take over states lawfully won by the PDP.
“The PDP will also not stop our demand for the review and reversal of the injustice done in the Imo State governorship election by the Supreme Court. On this, we stand,” the statement said.
However, the APC governors argued that the party had in recent past lost its mandate to the PDP through the pronouncement of the Supreme Court but it never disparaged the judiciary.
The statement entitled: ‘’Stop Castigating the Judiciary,’’ read in part: “Following the verdict of the Supreme Court in respect of Imo State election petition, which declared Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress as the winner of the March 9, 2019 governorship election, the national chairman of the PDP proclaimed the judgment as “miscarriage of justice” and alleged that the judiciary is “heavily compromised” and has “lost credibility.”
‘’These are depressing allegations coming from supposedly democratic leaders who should ordinarily be in the forefront of protecting and defending the judicial institution as the sanctuary of our democracy. It is contemptuous and disrespectful to our democracy.
“We call on Nigerians and all lovers of democracy in the country to rise to the defence of our democratic institutions, especially the judiciary. We must prevail on the PDP leadership and all politicians to exercise restraint by demonstrating unalloyed loyalty and respect for our democratic institutions, particularly our judiciary, which is the most important pillar of democratic governance.
To allege that a judgment delivered by Supreme Court justices is “procured” simply because it does not favour the PDP is an invitation to anarchy.
‘’It is on record that President Muhammadu Buhari has at all times stated his commitment to democracy and rule of law. Our party has lost elections we thought we won. Equally, our party has been stopped from participation in elections by the judiciary, for example in Rivers State. The case of Zamfara where we won the election but the Supreme Court in its wisdom nullified all our votes and declared PDP candidates as winners is another experience.
“In addition, our party members have lost many cases, and even though our views differed from the judgment delivered, we did not disparage the judiciary, yet our views of the judgment differed from the court.
‘’As Progressive Governors, we hereby declare abiding faith in our judiciary and will at all times respect all decisions of our judges at all levels no matter the circumstances. Our party and our members believe in the sanctity of our judicial institution as the last hope for justice for our people,” the governors said.
‘’We wish to unequivocally state our resolve to work with all democrats in the country to ensure adequate protection of democratic governance by respecting all judgments from our courts,’’ the governors said.