Perversion of Justice: Deliberate Efforts At Truncating Democracy in Nigeria

Perversion of Justice: Deliberate Efforts At Truncating Democracy in Nigeria

This is to bring to your notice and that of the United States of America, a serious case of judicial compromise and deliberate perversion of justice by the Supreme Court of Nigeria, which is now threatening our democracy as well as the peace, stability and corporate existence of our dear nation. You may recall that our party, the PDP, the leading opposition party in Nigeria, has been raising issues regarding the continuous interference and arm-twisting of the judiciary by the executive arm and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to influence the outcome of election petitions in various courts, annul elections won by our party and transfer victory to the APC. Your Excellency, it may have come to your notice that there have been serious protests in various states of our nation threatening the stability of our nation over a recent judgment of the Supreme Court. On the 14th of January 2020, the Supreme Court, led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mohammed Tanko, in a most bizarre judgment and against the dictates of all laws and judicial practice overturned the Imo state governorship election clearly won by Emeka Ihedioha/PDP, who had since been sworn in and handed the state over to the APC and its candidate, Senator Hope Uzodimma. It is instructive to inform you that this perversion of justice has already sparked off protests in various parts of our country and has become a clear threat to peace, unity and stability of our nation and the survival of our democracy. We rejected the judgment with clear call for a judicial review and ultimate reversal of the judgment by the Supreme Court. Nigerians had been at a shock over the voiding of the lawful election of Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, who scored 276,404 votes) and awarding fictitious votes to declare Hope Uzodimma of the APC, who scored 96, 458 votes as governor of Imo state that the Supreme voided. In order to achieve this, the Supreme Court, on its own, declared additional votes (beyond the official number of accredited voters) from purported 388 polling units, not certified by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and donated same to the APC and its candidate to declare them winner. The action of the Justice Tanko-led Supreme Court raises very serious issues, which point only to a deliberate miscarriage of justice against our party and our democratic order by the Supreme Court. Your Excellency, the Supreme Court, in a host of cases, the latest and most celebrated being Atiku V 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. However in this case, the same Supreme Court was not presented any witnesses from Uzodinma/APC from the fictitious 388 polling units from where the Court allocated votes to him. Does the Supreme Court have powers to formulate and allocate votes as election results? 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 bag, by a policeman who had no mandate of the police to testify at the Tribunal. The Tribunal did not even open the bag as there was no basis to do so. 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 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 among others and so no result could possibly be obtained from those units. The results were not merely rejected or cancelled by INEC. Moreover, your Excellency, nobody is aware of the number of votes scored by each party from the said 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, during the cross examination of the APC Candidate, Sen. Hope Uzodinma, he could not read any figure from the said results. He said that the figures were not clear.  It therefore beats the imagination where the Supreme Court conjured and manufactured the figures it used in declaring Uzodinma/APC as duly elected? But 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. One of such persons the law identifies is the one who did not make the document. Such a person is adjudged in the eyes of the law as ignorant of the content of the document”. Furthermore, no presiding officer or party agents of the said 388 polling units were called to testify by Uzodinma/APC, who were the Petitioners. Moreover, 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 about 70 political parties? Your Excellency, 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: 714,355But at the Supreme Court the Total Valid Votes have increased to 950,952. This accounts for 127, 209 votes in excess of Total Accredited Votes of 823,743.The question is; 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? Even if all the excess accredited votes of 127,209 manufactured by theSupreme Court were added to Uzodinma/APC it will be 223,657 votes,still less than Ihedioha’s votes of 276,494 by 42,747 votes. Furthermore, the victory of Ihedioha/PDP were confirmed by 2 concurrent judgments of both the Tribunal and the Court of Appeal and the tradition is that the Supreme Court hardly tamper with such decisions except it was found to be perverse. What was the evidence of perversity? Also, it is important to also bring to your notice that there were 2 elections on March 9, 2019, namely, Governorship and the House of Assembly. As already known, there was only one accreditation for the 2 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      13AA         won      8APGA    won      6APC       won      0Total                  27 The above further questions and confronts the rationale for the judgment of the Supreme Court on Imo State. From the foregoing it is our position that the Supreme Court, as presently constituted under Justice Mohammed Tanko, has become heavily compromised; lost its credibility and is now annexed to execute ignoble agenda of the APC-led Federal Government against the Nigerian people. With the verdict, the Supreme Court executed a coup against the PDP and the people of Imo state as well as other Nigerians, and such must not be allowed to have a place in our democracy. The fact is that, the Supreme Court, as presently constituted under Justice Tanko, has lost its credibility and no longer commands 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. The panel was changed three times and any judge that showed signs of not agreeing to murder democracy in this case was promptly removed by the CJN. The result 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. The PDP firmly holds that if the flawed judgment of the Supreme Court on Imo governorship election is allowed to stand, it would be a recipe for anarchy, chaos and constitutional crisis not only in Imo state but in the entire country. The PDP therefore calls on the United States and the international community to take more than a passing glance to this serious issue in order to avoid an imminent breakdown of law and order. Our demand is that Justice Tanko Mohammed 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. Also, in the light of extraordinary circumstances that vitiate that judgment as a product manipulation and a clear coup 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.  Anything short than this is a direct invitation to anarchy chaos and a huge threat to our democracy and the corporate existence of our nation. Signed:  Prince Uche Secondus,National Chairman

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