The Supreme Court said on Monday that it had yet to constitute the panel that would hear the appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to challenge the outcome of the February 23, 2019, presidential poll.
It said the public would be notified when the panel was constituted.
The apex court, through its Director, Press and Information, Dr. Festus Akande, said this in a statement to contradict the media claim by the spokesperson for the Coalition of United Political Parties, Imo Ugochinyere.
The CUPP, through Ugochinyere, had alleged in the media that the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, had handpicked judges of the apex court for the panel in violation of the “tradition” of selecting the most senior Justices of the court.
The Supreme Court’s statement on Monday described the CUPP as “blatant falsehood, misinformation and malicious rumour being generously peddled by the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) through its spokesman, Imo Ugochinyere”.
It said CUPP “is not and can never constitute itself into an agency of the Nigerian Judiciary or assume the role of an alternate Supreme Court of Nigeria”.
The statement said, “The constitution of any panel to sit on a matter in the court is the sole prerogative of the Supreme Court and it is never an issue for the court to debate on the television or pages of newspapers.
“We are not a political party or social club and should never be dragged into any form of baseless pedestrian discussions that will drive valid reasoning aground.
“Enough of this orchestrated falsehood and campaign of calumny.
“We are here to serve the interest of the generality of the Nigerian masses and not select individuals or groups with inordinate ambition.
“As soon as the Presidential Appeal Panel is constituted, the public will be duly informed as the Supreme Court is not a secret society. Let us always observe caution when disseminating information to the public.”
The Justice Mohammed Garba-led Presidential Election Petition Tribunal had on September 11, 2019, dismissed the petition by the PDP and Atiku challenging the outcome of the February 23, 2019 poll.
The petitioners on September 23, 2019, filed 66 grounds of appeal before the apex court to challenge the judgment of the tribunal.
The Supreme Court said on Monday that the appellants had yet to file their appeal before CUPP came up with an imaginary apex court’s panel that would hear it.
It stated that the CUPP’s action amounted to naming a baby before it is born.