PEPT: Labour Raises Concern over Comments By Odili

PEPT: Labour Raises Concern over Comments By Odili

•Count me out of your political bias, justice fires bullies   

•PDP chief, staff resort to seven days prayer, fasting

Chuks Okocha in Abuja and Wale Igbintade in Lagos

Ahead of today’s judgement by the Presidential Election Petitions Trribunal, the  Labour Party has raised concerns over comments by a retired Supreme Court Justice, Justice Mary Odili, describing it as unguarded.

But Mrs. Odili, has cleared the air on her speech made on September 1, advising litigants across the country not to bring down the roof of the country, saying it was directed at all political parties.

This was as the staff of the National Secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), have resorted to seven days fasting and prayers for God’s intervention.

At the same time, a former governor of Adamawa State and Chairman, PDP Christian Religious Body 2023, Mr. Boni Haruna, has admonished party members and Nigerians, to not despair because there was still hope.

The Labour Party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh said, “The unguarded statement from the former Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Justice Mary Odili in Abuja last week at a colloquium to mark the 25th anniversary of the elevation of a renowned jurist, JK Gadzama to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, and the boasting of some persons, ministers and notable legislators about the outcome has left our party in shock.

“When those who should know the importance of the sanctity of the judiciary descend to the arena of abusing it with their preemptive utterances just to show loyalty and support to their interests, we as a party see this as unfortunate and dangerous to our democratic journey as a nation.

“We note also the needless lavish showering of praises on the legal counsels of both APC and Candidate Bola Ahmed Tinubu by the retired Justice, when the gathering was not theirs. We find this extremely undignified of a renowned jurist, who rose to the peak of her career in the country’s apex court and who as the  Chairperson of the body of benchers, should be at the forefront of defending the virtuousness of the courts.”

 The Labour party said  sit was also curious to every discerning mind watching the unfolding events in Nigeria since the February 25th Presidential election that the PEPC that refused live television coverage of the hearings of the petition, was now anxious to have the conclusion beamed live.

“What is it that has happened between the hearing period and the delivery of the judgment that the live coverage which they claimed was a policy issue changed suddenly at the delivery point?

“We are aware of the efforts of the agents of the states to orchestrate problems and blame them on the political opposition. We wish to emphasise that it is the right of the people in a democracy to demonstrate and the obligation of state security agents to protect the demonstrators and those not demonstrating,” it said.       

However, in a reaction signed by her Media Assistance, Chief Felix Enebeli, Justice Odili described those who attempted to misconstrue her advice as ‘mischievous conflict entrepreneurs’ determined to force her speech to fit their jaundiced narratives and political nuances.

She acknowledged that the 2023 general election “generated a storm” and advised all those who were not declared victorious in the elections to toe the line of legality and follow the rules of law, in expressing their dissatisfaction through appropriate channels and not “pull down the roof of the nation” because of its far-reaching consequences on every one, including all agitators, regardless of what side of the fence they found themselves. Surely, this is common sense advice.”

The statement read: “Our attention has been drawn to the unfortunate skewed social media interpretation inflicted upon the innocuous speech made by Hon. Justice Mary Odili CFR, retired Justice of the Supreme Court, during the colloquium organized in Abuja on Friday, 1st September, 2023 to mark the 25th anniversary of Chief Joe Kyari Gadzama as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

“The event was themed: ‘The Nigeria of our Dreams: A Call to the Patriots’. Since then, some mischievous conflict entrepreneurs have been hosting comments from persons determined to force her speech to fit jaundiced narratives and political nuances. Justice Mary Odili spoke like one ‘who saw something and said something’ without minding whose ox is gored.

“It is emphasised that there is nothing in the comments that suggested a reference to those who lost in any particular election in any state or region. The 2023 general election was in four categories: the state Houses of Assembly, governorship, National Assembly, and presidential elections.

“Moreso, the lawyers who attended the events, especially the named ones, were called upon, in their professional capacity, to find solutions to the challenges facing the 2023 elections irrespective of their leanings. Wole Olanipekun SAN is the immediate past Chairman, Body of Benchers who handed over to Justice Mary Odili.

“Lateef Fagbemi SAN is the Hon. Attorney General and Minister of Justice of Nigeria and the Host J. K. Gadzama SAN is a known lawyer, who has done several cases for the PDP. These lawyers are globally acknowledged as strong in litigation.

“The several other lawyers in attendance are possibly handling various cases for politicians. The unprovoked vituperations are a sad reflection of the reason for the cautionary comments of Justice Mary Odili, and the vain struggle to give it momentum to political gains is unhelpful.”

Meanwhile, the PDP prayer session, which commenced at about 1.00 pm at the PDP Chapel, Wadata Plaza, Wuse Zone 5, on Tuesday, had some chieftains of the party in attendance

THISDAY gathered  that the party’s members of staff were locked in a series of prayers asking for divine intervention as the tribunal delivers judgement on the case instituted by the PDP Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, against the declaration of Bola Tinubu as winner of the February 25, 2023 Presidential election.

In his sermon, Haruna, who took his Bible reading from the book of 1st Samuel, Chapter 30 verses 1-8, noted that it was still possible for the party to recover all that was stolen from the PDP, just like David and his companions recovered all that were stolen from them by their enemies in scriptures.

Speaking to reporters shortly after the session, Haruna said, “We believe God will give us victory. Whatever the outcome (of tomorrow’s judgement), we pray that it will strengthen Nigeria’s unity, we are not looking at negativity.”

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