Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has knocked the panel of Supreme Court justices that delivered judgment in the Imo State governorship election.
The party asked for a review and reversal of the judgment and called on the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad to step down.
At a media conference on Thursday, addressed by the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, the party asked the six other justices that delivered judgment on the Imo case to recuse themselves from the remaining election petition cases pending before the apex court.
Other governorship election petition cases pending before the apex court and in which the PDP is involved, are those of Sokoto, Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Plateau and Kano states.
Describing the verdict in the Imo case as recipe for crisis, Secondus said the judgement was a miscarriage of justice and a coup against the PDP and the people of Imo state.
The party chairman said, “That the Supreme Court, as presently constituted under Justice Mohammed Tanko, has become heavily compromised; lost its credibility and is now annexed to execute ignoble agenda of the APC-led Federal Government against the Nigerian people.
“That the judgment of the Supreme Court voiding the lawful election of Hon. Emeka Ihedioha (who scored 276,404 votes) and awarding fictitious votes to declare Hope Uzodimma of the APC, who scored 96, 458 votes as governor of Imo state, is highly irrational, unfounded, a provocative product of executive manipulation and a recipe for crisis, which should not be allowed to stand.
“With the verdict, the Supreme Court executed a coup against the PDP and the people of Imo state as well as other Nigerians, and such must not be allowed to have a place in our democracy”.
Querying the validity of the judgment, the party pointed out that the 127,209 votes added to the votes of the APC candidate, Hope Uzodinma by the apex court could not be justified.
Secondus said the added votes to the APC candidate shot the total votes cast at the election above the number of accredited voters, as contained in the record of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
According to him, while the INEC figure of accredited voters stood at 823,743, the apex court, through its judgment, shot the number to 950,952, which the party said was in excess of accredited voters in the election.
The party also queried the allotment of the entire votes in the disputed 388 polling units, saying that going by INEC records, election did not take place in those polling units as a result of violence and other disruptive activities on election day.
“The so-called results from the 388 polling units were rightfully rejected, in line with several decisions of the Supreme Court, by the Tribunal and Court of Appeal as it was merely dumped on the tribunal in a Ghana Must Go bag, by a policeman who had no mandate of the police to testify at the Tribunal.
“The Tribunal did not even open the Ghana Must Go bags as there was no basis to do so. It is one of the great wonders of the world how the Supreme Court opened the bag, counted the results and added them to only the APC Candidate.
“What is more perplexing is the fact that INEC produced a schedule of reasons why results were not produced from the 388 units.
“Indeed election did not even take place in most of the units for one reason or another, like violence, etc and so no result could possibly be obtained from those units. The results were not merely rejected or cancelled by INEC.
“None of the candidates or their counsel, except perhaps APC, as we speak, are aware of the number of votes scored by each party from the 388 polling units. The Tribunal or Court of Appeal did not mention or ascribe any figure from the units to any party in their decisions.
“In fact, in the cross examination of the APC candidate, Sen. Hope Uzodinma, he could not read any figure from the ‘Oluwole’ results. He said that the figures were not clear. And so it beats our imagination where the Supreme Court conjured and manufactured the figures it used in declaring Uzodinma/APC as duly elected”, Secondus added.
The party raised questions as to the propriety of the apex court to formulate and allocate votes as election results where such votes were not certified by INEC as required by law.
Knocking the apex court further, Secondus said, “The fact is that, the Supreme Court, as presently constituted under Justice Tanko, has lost its credibility and no longer commands the respect and confidence of Nigerians.
“If the people no longer repose confidence in the Supreme Court, then our democracy, national cohesion and stability are at great risk.
“The constitution of the panel that heard the appeal itself was a product of drama. The panel was changed three times and any judge that showed signs of not agreeing to murder democracy, in this case, was promptly removed by the CJN.
The result had to be unanimous to satisfy the script of rationality.
“But can any judge who sat on that panel go home and sleep well? Can any judge who sat on that panel face his Creator and swear that impartial justice was done? We think not.
“We had intelligence before the verdict on the Imo governorship that the hierarchy of APC had decided that they must use the Supreme Court to capture the states won and controlled by the PDP such as Imo, Sokoto, Bauchi, Adamawa and Benue.
“Can the PDP rightly trust the impartiality and independence of the panel headed by Justice Tanko Mohammed, the CJN, to adjudicate on the remaining cases involving the PDP like Kano, Sokoto, Benue, Bauchi, Adamawa, Plateau and others?
“Is the same fate awaiting the Governors of these states that are controlled by the PDP and other states like Kano where the PDP clearly won and was robbed?
“Should Justice Tanko Mohammed and his colleagues on the Imo Governorship Panel not recuse themselves from the remaining cases involving PDP?
“The PDP firmly holds that if the flawed judgment of the Supreme Court on Imo governorship election is allowed to stand, it would be a recipe for anarchy, chaos and constitutional crisis not only in Imo state but in the entire country.
“Our party has it in good authority that Justice Tanko and his panel are working on instruction from certain forces in the Presidency to use the Supreme Court to take over states lawfully won by the PDP and award them to the APC.
“The PDP, therefore, advises Justice Tanko not to allow himself to be used to push our nation to the path of anarchy and constitutional crisis as any further attempt to subvert justice in the pending petitions on Sokoto, Bauchi, Benue, Adamawa as well as Kano and Plateau states will be firmly and vehemently resisted.
“In other to avoid an imminent breakdown of law and order, the PDP demands that Justice Tanko Mohammed immediately steps down as CJN and chairman of the National Judicial Council as Nigerians have lost confidence in him and a Supreme Court under his leadership.
“Justice Tanko must not head the panel to determine the remaining election petitions before the Supreme Court”