Governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Sunday threw their weight behind the decision of the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to challenge Wednesday’s judgment of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) which upheld INEC’s declaration of Muhammadu Buhari as winner of the 2019 presidential poll.
The governors, under the aegis of the PDP Governors’ Forum, stated that the judgment stood justice on its head and, if not challenged at the apex court, might constrain “our developing democracy”.
The governors, in a statement by its chairman and governor of Bayelsa State, Henry Seriake Dickson, said the judgment was nothing but “wrong signals to our teeming youths and laying a faulty moral foundation for generations of Nigerians yet unborn”.
He added: “After painstakingly and prudently understudying the line after line tenets of the judgment, several holes were picked and countless anomalies identified by us.
“We would be doing a greater disservice and moral injustice to our party, our democracy, and Nigerians in general if we turn blind eyes, swallow such bile, and applaud that rape of justice.
“The judgment, to say the least, has further painted our judiciary with darker colours, only this time around with a never-before-seen blemished coat of tar.
“However, we are hopeful that the Supreme Court will re-write that history by ensuring that such stains and tar are removed from our judicial archives.
“The apex court should know that its integrity is at stake and, in order to avoid it, been shredded to particles, must employ all known technicalities to save our nation and the future of Nigerians yet unborn from a development that may further make us a perpetual laughing stock amongst the comity of nations.
“And Nigerians are very hopeful that these wrongs will be righted.
“Without any iota of trepidation, it is most paramount for us to once more restate and reconfirm our undiluted loyalty, deserving support and maximum commitment to our great party and the Atiku-Obi presidential ticket. This is our stand, now and in the future. Posterity would judge us harshly if we did otherwise.”
Meanwhile, the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has raised the alarm over what it described as the Federal Government’s latest onslaught against judges across the country in form of a request from the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) that all banks make details of bank accounts of all justices of the Supreme Court available to the unit.
Describing the alleged move by the government as intimidation and blackmail, the CUPP added that the request of the NFIU was coming simultaneously with another alleged request from one of the security agencies to all mobile telecommunication companies to furnish them with the phone log of all the Justices of the Supreme Court and other listed Nigerians from August 1, 2018, till September 10, 2019.
The CUPP, in a statement by its spokesman, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, said: “We note that while the government tried to hide behind one finger by adding members of the National Assembly to the list of those whose bank accounts are under surveillance, it did not succeed in hiding its intention because it was clear that there was no mention of any member of the executive arm of government in the NFIU letter. Or are there no corrupt persons in the executive arm of government?
“We would not have been so surprised by this latest government action since the same government had earlier ordered a midnight raid on houses of some judges and also removed a sitting Chief Justice of Nigeria in a most controversial manner.
“The same government sent security agents to lay siege on the National Assembly with a view to forcing a leadership change.
“Our concern, however, is that these directives to invade the privacy of the justices clearly guaranteed by the 1999 constitution is coming at a time the coalition presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, is approaching the Supreme Court to contest the judgment of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal. Basking in the euphoria of the success of their arm-twisting plot at the Court of Appeal, they are at it again now in the Supreme Court.
“We make bold to say that this latest onslaught is part of coordinated plans to blackmail the justices of the Supreme Court, intimidate them, and instill fear in them. But this move will backfire. It will fail.”
However, NFIU has denied the letter requesting banks to furnish it with the account details of principal officers of the National Assembly and the judiciary. It said such reports are not true.
According to the agency, “In line with its powers as enacted in the NFIU Act, the unit already has access to details of all bank accounts in the country and does not therefore, need to write to commercial banks asking for the same information.”
Meanwhile, the PDP on Sunday said it was shocked but not rattled by the outcome of the judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal which affirmed the election of President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC.
Reacting to a newspaper report which alleged that Atiku’s loss at the tribunal had left the party in disarray with many party loyalists making moves to defect to the ruling APC, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, said the party was not rattled because it believed all hope was not lost, having decided to retrieve its mandate at the Supreme Court.
He said the party was shocked because it believed it presented credible evidence in its petitions which ordinarily would have resulted in victory for it and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, at the tribunal.
“We were shocked by the outcome of the judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal but not rattled. We were shocked because we have credible evidence before the tribunal that we won the election.
“So, we expected the tribunal to base their judgment on that but that did not happen and we were shocked. But to say we are rattled is false because we know all hope is not lost.”
Also speaking on the fallout of the party’s primaries in Kogi and Bayelsa, Ologbondiyan said the outcome of the exercise would not affect the party’s chances during the November 16 governorship election as the party was exploring internal mechanisms to address the complaints of some aggrieved members.
“There is no division whatsoever in our party, the Peoples Democratic Party. The party is united. Yes, we had primaries in Kogi and some aspirants disagreed on the outcome, but there is no cause for alarm as the party is exploring internal mechanism for resolution of crisis. There was an appeal panel. Those aggrieved are required to file their petitions before the appeal panel.
“In Kogi State, we had 13 aspirants who participated in the primary and a winner emerged. 10 out of the 13 aspirants were in Wadata Plaza (national secretariat) on Friday to pledge their solidarity to the party and promised to work with the governorship candidate.
“So, I don’t know where those talking about crisis are coming from. The party is united and we don’t have any form of crisis. If there are misgivings, the party has a way of reconciling itself.”