Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The Presidency yesterday in Abuja described as ridiculous and comical, the reaction of former Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to the Supreme Court judgment which upheld the election of Gboyega Oyetola as the Governor of Osun State.
Atiku, in a statement after the judgment, had among others, urged “the nation’s judiciary to take a pulse of the nation and reflect it,” adding: “In their hands, God has placed a great responsibility, the duty to ensure that justice is done, irrespective of the pressure to do otherwise, by the powers that be.”
But in a swift reaction to Atiku’s plea, President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, said: “Many things fly in the face of logic, reason, and legality in this portion of the statement. Alhaji Abubakar urged the judiciary to reflect the pulse of the nation in their judgments. Learned people know that the judiciary comes to conclusions drawing from matters of law placed before it, and not sentiments, or so-called ‘pulse of the nation.”
Adesina proceeded to ask a number of rhetorical questions, including “how does the judiciary gauge the pulse of the nation? Is it even positioned to do such? Is the judiciary established for that purpose, or to dispense justice, even if the Heavens fall?”
He also alleged that Atiku’s comment that the judiciary should ensure justice is done, “irrespective of the pressure to do otherwise, by the powers that be,” is a subtle inducement and an attempt to influence the judiciary over his petition before the presidential election tribunal.
He then proceeded to defend Buhari, absolving him of any attempt to compromise the judiciary and alluding to recent judicial pronouncements which had favoured Atiku’s party without anyone insinuating any pressure on the judiciary at the time.
“We see this as an attempt to browbeat the judiciary, thus causing it to entertain sentiment in the ongoing petition on the presidential election before the tribunal. If anybody has the tendency or proclivity to put pressure on the judiciary, Nigerians know where the finger points, and it is definitely not at President Muhammadu Buhari. “This was a man who had thrice taken his electoral challenges to the judiciary, up to the Supreme Court.
And not once was he accused of trying to influence the process, or put pressure on the courts.
“When the All Progressives Congress (APC) lost Zamfara and Rivers States, arising from judicial proclamations, then, there was no ‘pressure to do otherwise, by the powers that be.’ But now that the victory of the party in Osun was upheld, there is insinuation of pressure from those who have never learnt to play straight.
“President Buhari has always been committed to fair play, which was clearly evident in the last general elections. He remains committed to even-handedness and justice always,” Adesina said.