- Says Muhammad, others must recuse themselves from its outstanding cases
Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) thursday asked the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, to resign and also demanded a review and reversal of the Supreme Court judgment on the Imo State governorship election that nullified the election of its Hon. Emeka Ihedioha and ordered his replacement by Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
At a press conference thursday in Abuja by its National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, and attended by all members of the National Working Committee (NWC), the PDP also asked the CJN to recuse himself from all PDP-related cases, alleging that he is highly compromised.
Secondus said PDP was grieved by the Supreme Court’s verdict on the Imo State governorship election that gave victory to the APC, describing it as a recipe for crisis and gradual death knell for democracy in the country.
“In the light of extraordinary circumstances that vitiate that judgment as a product of manipulation and a clear coup d’état against the will of the people of Imo State, we demand that the decision of the Supreme Court on the Imo governorship election be reviewed and reversed in the interest of justice.
“Furthermore, we demand that Justice Tanko Muhammad, the CJN and his colleagues on the Imo governorship panel recuse themselves from the remaining cases involving PDP in the Supreme Court.
“We state for the records that the Supreme Court under Justice Tanko Muhammad shall be held responsible if there is any breakdown of law and order in any state as a result of judgments procured solely for political rather than judicial reasons as is currently happening,” he said.
According to him, PDP NWC believes that the Supreme Court, as presently constituted under Justice Muhammad, has become heavily compromised; lost its credibility and is now annexed to execute agenda of the APC-led federal government.
Secondus stated that the judgment of the Supreme Court sacking Ihedioha and declaring Uzodinma as governor of Imo State, was highly irrational, unfounded, a provocative product of executive manipulation and a recipe for crisis, which should not be allowed to stand.
He stated that with the verdict, the apex court executed a coup against the PDP and the people of Imo State as well as other Nigerians, adding that such must not be allowed to have a place in Nigeria’s democracy.
He said: “The Supreme Court, in a host of cases, the latest and most celebrated being Atiku Vs Buhari & Ors, consistently decided that for a petitioner to succeed in an allegation of infraction of any provision of the Electoral Act, especially one complaining about malpractice, as in this case, wrongful exclusion of votes, the petitioner must call witnesses polling unit by polling unit.
“The question is, how many witnesses did Uzodinma/APC call from the 388 polling units from where the Supreme Court allocated votes to him?
“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.”
He said the tribunal did not even open the Ghana-must-go bags as there was no basis to do so.
Secondus said: “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 the 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, 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, is 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, Senator 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.”
According to him, the law is settled as decided by the same Supreme Court in Buhari v. INEC (2008), that “weight can hardly be attached to a document tendered in evidence by a witness who cannot or is not in a position to answer questions on the document.”
He said one of such persons the law identified is the one who did not make the document.
Such a person, he added, is adjudged in the eyes of the law as “ignorant of the content of the document.”
He asked: “Does the Supreme Court have powers to formulate and allocate votes as election results?
“Were the said results certified by INEC as required by law? Did Hope Uzodinma call 388 witnesses from the 388 polling units to speak to the results to obviate the principle of dumping, which the Supreme Court used against the PDP and her candidate, Atiku Abubakar, in the last presidential appeal?
“Were the presiding officers and or party agents of the 388 polling units called to testify by Uzodinma/APC, who were the petitioners?
“What are the figures from each of the various 388 polling units generated and allocated to Hope Uzodinma/APC by the Supreme Court?
“Is the Supreme Court saying that all the votes from the alleged 388 polling units were for the APC alone in an election that was contested by over 70 candidates?
“It is on record that the votes analysis from the Imo governorship election as at March 11, 2019 when the results were declared were as follows: -Total Accredited Votes: 823,743; Total Valid Votes: 739,485; Cancelled Votes: 25, 130; Total Valid Votes: 714,355. But at the Supreme Court the Total Valid Votes have increased to 950,952.
“This account for 127, 209 votes in excess of total accredited votes of 823,743.
“Can the Supreme Court sit in Abuja on January 14, 2020 to increase the total number of accredited votes in election held in Imo State on March 9, 2019?
“Is there any law, which permits the Supreme Court or anyone else for that matter, to unilaterally increase the total accredited votes by any margin after the accreditation and or the election?
“Where did the Supreme Court get the numbers to declare Uzodinma/APC from a paltry 96,456 votes over Ihedioha/PDP votes of 276,404?”
Secondus said even if all the excess accredited votes of 127,209 manufactured by the Supreme Court were added to Uzodinma/APC it would be 223,657 votes, which is still less than Ihedioha’s votes of 276,494 by 42,747 votes.
He explained that the victory of Ihedioha/PDP was confirmed by two concurrent judgments of both the tribunal and the Court of Appeal, adding that the tradition is that the Supreme Court hardly tampers with such decisions except it was found to be perverse.
“What was the evidence of perversity?” he queried, adding: “It is important to also bring to the consciousness of well-meaning members of the public, particularly Nigerians, that there were two elections on March 9, 2019, namely, governorship and the House of Assembly.
“As already known, there was only one accreditation for the two elections. The APC did not win any of the 27 seats in the Imo State House of Assembly, which were won as follows: PDP won 13; AA won 8; APGA won 6; APC won 0; Total is 27
“The above further questions and confront the rationale for the judgment of the Supreme Court on Imo State.
“How then did the Supreme Court arrive at its decision to allocate results to void a lawful governorship election and imposed an unelected person as governor?”
Secondus said the Supreme Court, as presently constituted under Justice Muhammad, lacked credibility and could no longer command 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,” he stated.
Secondus said the panel was changed three times, alleging any judge that showed signs of not agreeing to cooperate with the alleged plot to pervert the course of justice in this case was removed by the CJN, adding that the judgment 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,” he said.
Secondus said PDP had intelligence before the verdict on the Imo governorship petition that the APC leadership had allegedly decided to use the Supreme Court to capture the states won and controlled by the PDP such as Imo, Sokoto, Bauchi, Adamawa and Benue.
He said: “Can the PDP rightly trust the impartiality and independence of the panel headed by Justice Tanko Muhammad, 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 Muhammad and his colleagues on the Imo governorship panel not recuse themselves from the remaining cases involving PDP?”
He said if the judgment of the Supreme Court on Imo governorship election was 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 on 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 order to avoid an imminent breakdown of law and order, the PDP demands that Justice Tanko Muhammad 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.”
Secondus also accused Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, who delivered the judgment on the Imo election appeal of being the constant instrument used by anti-democratic agents resident in Lagos State, from where she was elevated to the bench of the Supreme Court, to deliver at least three of the most doubtful and controversial judgments, which removed PDP governors and other elected officials.
He listed the judgments as Paul Ukpo V Liyel Imoke where Liyel Imoke was removed in very suspicious circumstances in 2007 when she was at the Court of Appeal; Adeleke V Oyetola delivered in 2019, which reversed Senator Ademola Adeleke victories at the lower courts; and Uzodinma V Ihedioha delivered on January 14, 2020, which removed Ihedioha of the PDP who won the election with 276,494 votes and replaced with Uzodinma of the APC who came fourth in the election with a paltry 96, 458 votes.