Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has described the attack on the opposition by the Supreme Court as a confirmation of an unholy alliance between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the apex court.
The coalition also insisted that there is a grand plan to alter the order of appointing appeal panel to hear the appeal filed by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, against the judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.
Only two days ago, the Supreme Court had in a statement signed by its Director of Press, Festus Akande, accused the CUPP of blackmail.
The tribunal, in its judgment last month, upheld the election of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The five-man panel headed by Justice Mohammed Garba had in a unanimous decision dismissed the petition filed by Atiku, challenging the declaration of President Buhari as the winner of the February 23 presidential election.
Reacting to the position of the apex court, the CUPP, in a statement by its spokesman, Ikenga Ugochinyere, said the coalition read with dismay a statement credited to the Supreme Court, which according to them, is expected to be neutral on all issues, descended heavily on the coalition for alerting Nigerians on the issue that concerns them and the nation.
Ugochinyere said that the Supreme Court has by that statement successfully descended into the arena, “has taken sides and has decided to join issues with the opposition perhaps because the supposed quiet plan and alliance with the APC led federal government had been botched”.
He said: “The CUPP and opposition have before now exposed the plan to alter the order of seniority which is used in appointing Supreme Court justices that sit on presidential appeal since 1979. We had insisted that the plan is to truncate the appeal filed by the coalition consensus candidate and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
”It is noteworthy that the attack on CUPP by the highest court in the land came less than 24 hours after the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) issued its own statement in which it threw caution to the wind, fired a childish arrow at the grand opposition alliance and said unprintable things about the opposition while not addressing the issues raised and making claims of Nigeria being an imaginary one party state.
”We know of a fact that it is not a coincidence that the two separate statements from the ruling party and the apex court came almost the same time. The releases were clearly syndicated. It is a confirmation of our long-time belief that something sinister is going on.
”They have confirmed that they are both reading from the same book and are on the same page.
It is expected that those concerned will be coming out of their holes one after the other because the opposition has exposed them.”
Ugochinyere said instead of the apex court accusing the opposition of blackmail, what is expected of it was to simply reassure citizens of its dedication and commitment to do justice, instead of attacking citizens.
”Is there anything that this court wants us to do? Does the Supreme Court also want to curtail citizens’ freedom of speech? If the court can speak so harshly to citizens for expressing concerns about justice, then we are doomed to accept the gagging of media by the executive as a normal act. God help us.
”We are therefore assuring those who have made it their new occupation to be attacking the opposition that they will soon hear from the CUPP on indisputable facts and evidence of abuse of office against them which will put a big question mark to their continued stay in the public space.
”The Nigeria Opposition Coalition CUPP wish to state clearly that the only way out of this challenge is for the CJN to constitute the Supreme Court panel that will hear Atiku’s appeal in order of seniority in accordance with the age-long tradition that has been in practice since 1979. This will create a semblance of shielding the Supreme Court from the politics of the APC and hijack agenda of the federal government,” he said.