Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Atiku accuses APC of intimidating Nigeria’s judiciary

Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of trying to compromise the judiciary.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Bola Tinubu, candidate of the APC, as the winner of the presidential election.

Tinubu secured 8,794,726 votes to defeat Atiku who had the second-highest figure of 6,984,520 votes, while Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) came third with 6,101,533 votes.

However, Atiku and Obi are challenging Tinubu’s victory at the tribunal, asking the court to void the outcome of the poll.

Part of the grounds for the challenge, the petitioners said, was Tinubu’s failure to secure at least 25 percent of votes cast in the federal capital territory (FCT).

However, Tinubu, through Wole Olanipekun, his counsel, told the tribunal that the FCT is the 37th state for electoral purposes and any other interpretation would “lead to absurdity, chaos, anarchy and alteration of the very intention of the legislature”.

In a statement by Paul Ibe on Saturday, Atiku’s media adviser, the former vice president said the APC and agents of Tinubu have “ceaselessly chosen to stand in the way of justice by making “catastrophic threats to anarchy if justice is not served according to their whims”.

Atiku accused the APC of plotting to intimidate the judiciary by harassing the judges involved in the petition and called on the international community to be alerted.

“The plot of the APC is simple: intimidate the judiciary, threaten judges with arrest so that they will bow to their will. This is a playbook from 2019 when they removed the CJN and then replaced him with Tanko Muhammad, who himself was later accused of corruption by his colleagues at the supreme court and resigned shamefully,” the statement reads.

“However, the APC government never went after Tanko Muhammad as they did in Onnoghen’s case because it was never about corruption but the election. The APC has, over the years, built a reputation for judiciary intimidation.

“They accused about 10 judges of corruption, stormed their homes, and got them suspended and yet could not convict a single one of them. Justice Sylvester Ngwuta of the supreme court could not recover from the embarrassment that he ended up dying in office.

“Now, they have initiated a new plot. This time around, they want to intimidate the judges into delivering favourable judgments for them at the election tribunal. We draw the attention of the international community and, indeed, Nigerians to this fresh plot to steal the mandate of over 200 million people.”

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