Ahead of the Appeal Court judgement on a petition by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Timipre Sylva challenging the re-election of Governor Seriake Dickson, a civil society group, Movement for the Independence of the Judiciary in the Niger Delta (MIJN), has faulted the membership of the panel of justices that would handle the case.
In a statement signed by its National President, Comrade Patrice Egribido, the group questioned why all the five justices on the Appeal Court were drawn from only APC-controlled states.
Comrade Egribido averred that it could not have been coincidental that the five justices were selected from only APC states, stressing that the skewed selection smacks of suspicion and goes to confirm the fears of the opposition that the justices were on a pre-determined mission and not to deliver justice.
Egribido advised the President of Court of Appeal to urgently redress the imbalance.
Egribido said that even though the group is politically neutral, it believes that the skewed selection of the panelists, leaves so much unanswered question.
Some of the questions according to him include: “Does it mean that the President of the Court of Appeal is not sensitive to the Nigeria political reality? Or is she saying that there are no competent justices in PDP-controlled states? Even as a non- political group, we are sensitive to the sensitivity of electoral contest and pluralism of Nigeria; is the Judiciary blind to these realities? Investigations have shown that Justice Mukhtar hails from Bauchi, Justice Yakubu, Kogi, Justice Awotoye, Osun and Justice Okoronkwo hails from Imo State, all governed by APC governors.”