The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday called on the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) to defend the integrity of the judiciary by immediately setting up a judicial panel of inquiry to probe the boast by leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that the party has persons in the judiciary, particularly at the Appeal and Supreme courts, to do the party’s bidding on election cases.

In response to a video in which APC leader Yusuf Gagdi, a representative from Plateau State, said, “We have gone to Appeal Court and the final destination is the Supreme Court and we will meet there,” the PDP issued a call for a meeting at the Supreme Court, signed by the party’s national publicity secretary, Debo Ologunagba. There, we can find out who they know and have them learn about ourselves.

PDP also claimed that Gagdi’s statement confirms the public’s suspicion that the APC has formed a special team consisting of two of its former governors who are also serving cabinet ministers and a prominent APC leader from the North East Zone with the mandate to ensure the inducement of certain judicial officers to deliver judgements against PDP, as evidenced by the series of ‘biased judgements’ by the Plateau State Election Appeal Court panel.

It went on to say that Gagdi bolsters claims that a former APC governor paid off a panel of judges at the Plateau State Election Appeal Court with $5 million to rule in favor of challenging Governor Caleb Mutfwang’s election victory, despite the fact that the law prohibits political parties from interfering with the nomination of candidates and the Supreme Court has already ruled that this is not the case.

The statement says, in part, that “Hon. Gagdi’s declaration perhaps explains why the Plateau State Election Appeal Court Panel snatched the victories won by PDP candidates in the National Assembly elections in the state and awarded same to defeated APC candidates in varying, contradictory, and conflicting judgements in appeals with the same subject matter, same facts, same circumstances, and same applicable laws.”

According to the article, “it is therefore not surprising that the current Plateau State Election Appeal Court Panel, which has been accused of bias with many Nigerians calling for its disbandment,” is the only panel committed “solely” to all election appeals from Plateau State, which is not standard procedure.

That the judiciary is the final hope of the common man is being eroded by the actions of the Plateau State Election Appeal Court Panel and the boastings of the APC.

This assertion is undermining public trust, which could lead to citizens of Nigeria taking matters into their own hands, which would lead to a complete breakdown of law and order in the country.

There is a lot of tension in Plateau State because of the decisions made by the Election Appeal Court Panel. People are marching to the streets in protest. It is our fear that if this issue is not resolved soon, it may spread to other federation states like Plateau and become a full-blown crisis.

“Insisting that the judiciary remains the last line of defence for our nation’s democracy and political stability, the PDP demands that the CJN, as head of the Judiciary, set up a high-powered panel to probe the claims by the APC of having persons in both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, as well as investigate the bribery allegations against the Plateau State Election Appeal Court Panel.”

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