Udora Orizu in Abuja
Opposition political parties under the aegis of Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) on Thursday raised alarm over an alleged plot by the All Progressive Congress (APC) to alter and jettison the composition of proposed 7-man panel that will review Presidential Election Petition Tribunal Judgment.
The People’s Democratic Party and its candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar headed to Supreme Court to file an appeal after rejecting the tribunal judgment – a development that has spurred CJN to begin the process of constituting a 7-man panel who will review the judgment.
However, CUPP at a press conference in Abuja, through its Spokesman, Barr Ikenga Ugochinyere, claimed the APC has been mounting undue pressure on the Chief Justice of the Federation and indeed the entire court to accept a handpicked panel and jettison the age-long tradition of the Court of selecting the most senior justices of the Supreme Court to sit on the panel.
Ikenga argued that the way by which CJN wants to constitute the panel is in violation with age-long practice of appointing the most senior Justice since 1979.
He stated that the opposition parties will not accept a handpicked panel neither will the pronouncement of such panel command the requite respect and confidence of the people of Nigeria.
“Today corruption has been permeated in the highest levels of the presidency, today Nigeria is indebted more than ever before, today suffering citizens are being taxed to death, today there is a craze to generate revenue even at the risk of stripping citizens of their minimal purchasing power which has almost lost all its value due to mismanagement by this incompetent administration. Today they have increased VAT to 7.2%. Today they tax citizens to deposit their money in banks; today they tax citizens for withdrawal of their money. Today all parts of the country are insecure with bandits and terrorist raping and destroying. The economy is bad because the leader has no capacity to govern and has surrendered his functions to unelected people. Citizens are charged to court for terrorism for merely speaking out against this misrule,” CUPP lamented
Ugochinyere listed the names of 15 Supreme Court Justices with the date they were appointed as follows: Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed CJN (2006); Bode Rhodes Vivour Jsc (2010); Nwali Syvester Ngwuta Jsc (2011); Mary Odili Jsc (2011); Olukayode Ariwoola Jsc (2011); Musa Datijo Mohammad Jsc (2012).
Others include, Kumayi Bayang Akaahs Jsc (2012); Kudirat Kekere Ekun Jsc (2013); John Inyang Okoro Jsc (2013); Chima Centus Nweze Jsc (2014); Amiru Sanisu Jsc (2015); Amina Adamu Augie Jsc (2016); Ejembi Eko Jsc (2016); Paul Adamu Galinje Jsc (2016) and Uwani Abba Aji Jsc (2018).
He said, “It can be observed from the list that the youngest of the top 7 justices of the court was appointed in 2012 when both contenders could not have envisaged today. From 1979 to the return to democracy in 1999, the journey has been about seniority of justices when composing presidential election appeal panel at the Supreme Court.”
He added that the coalition wants these age long tradition of composing presidential election dispute panel in order of seniority maintained because they do not trust the altering of the seniority list under a Buhari led APC federal government.