Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) of attempts to use the husband of the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa, to influence the election petition tribunals in Ekiti and Osun states.
This allegation was contained in a statement, on Sunday, by the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Diran Odeyemi.
In the statement, the PDP declared that the recent ‘gift’ of the APC Bauchi North Senatorial ticket to Adamu Bulkachuwa, the husband of Justice Bulkachuwa, after he lost the primary election organised by the APC to Usman Tuggar, was an indication that the ruling party (APC) was desperate to cover up infractions it committed in Ekiti and Osun states which had become subjects of litigation pending before several courts in the country.
According to Odeyemi, “Findings show that Usman Tuggar won the Bauchi North APC direct primary election in six of the seven local government areas in the Senatorial District, while his challenger, Adamu Bulkachuwa won in only one.”
He added that when the names of candidates for the 2019 national elections were released last week, it was Adamu Bulkachuwa that was named the APC senatorial candidate for the Bauchi North Senatorial District, a development that immediately sparked suspicion among political parties in the country.
The PDP, therefore, alleged that the APC is trying to use Bulkachuwa as an access to his wife (Justice Zainab) whose court will handle election petition cases as well as issues arising from primary elections.
Odeyemi also noted that, “Having won the governorship elections anyhow in the two states of Ekiti and Osun without properly covering its tracks, the APC had resorted to using the judiciary to further circumvent people’s wishes for PDP to return to power in the two states.”
The PDP also alleged that the recent disbandment and reconstitution of the Election Petition Tribunal hearing the PDP’s petition against the APC candidate in the September 22 governorship poll in Osun State without any justification by Justice Bulkachuwa could be a pointer to the Court of Appeal’s readiness to ‘assist’ the ruling party in “getting away with its numerous self inflicted problems.”
The statement reads in parts: “We are compelled to tell the entire world the extent that the APC, under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari and Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, is going in perpetrating electoral fraud and planning to use courts of law to foist such illegal governments on the people.
“We equally recalled the issue of a strange call that Prof. Fuwape, the State Returning Officer for Osun governorship poll received while collation of results of the poll was being done, not minding the fact that the exercise was being televised live. We ask who called Fuwape that day?
“As if annexing INEC to the President Buhari-led federal government was not bad enough for our polity, the APC which seems to be struggling with itself to break all bad records in election manipulations and misgovernance, has resorted to attempting to get the judiciary, an independent and strategic organ of government, to its side in order to cover its mess.
“We hope the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Bulkachuwa will read well the warning signs and shun every poisoned bait cast at her by the badly fractured APC and the regime it handed Nigerians.
“She must continue to uphold the independence of the judiciary. APC is sinking very fast and has therefore been holding on to every available thing to halt its going down.
“But we implore the National Judicial Commission (NJC), Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) the international community, among others to henceforth closely monitor activities of Justice Bulkachuwa and pronouncements of Court of Appeal in order to guarantee the neutrality of our courts.”
Meanwhile, the APC said that the PDP’s allegation was an attempt to discredit the tribunal members and the president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Bulkachuwa.
The APC also faulted PDP’s allegation that the Osun election tribunal was disbanded and reconstituted for no justifiable reason.
In a statement yesterday by its spokesman, Kunle Oyatomi, the party said:
“The APC is shocked that the PDP has again condemned the reconstitution of the members of Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal and has threatened violence if the PDP loses at the tribunal.”
“This is a very irresponsible action by the PDP and we condemn it strongly,” Oyatomi added.
He quoted the PDP’s South West zonal Secretary, Bunmi Jenyo, as saying in a statement on Saturday that the PDP had threatened ‘masses revolution’ if its perception of justice was not served by the tribunal.
“By this assertion , the PDP has exposed its desperation to win, even if the justices say it lost the election,” Oyatomi said.
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He noted that the PDP’s threat was a forewarning to the security agencies that it was preparing for violence if it lost at the tribunal.
The statement read in part, “That’s arrant nonsense. Assuming that the allegations were true, the fact that the Appeal Court President is not sitting on the matter destroys PDP’s argument. If she were sitting on the tribunal, the PDP might have a case. But in this instant, the President of the Court of Appeal, by law is discharging her responsibility to set up the tribunal. Nobody else is empowered to do so, under our law.
“If the PDP therefore is questioning the authority of the President to constitute the tribunal, it should be told flat out that it is over-reaching its limit.
“The PDP has no power whatsoever under the constitution to question the authority of the judiciary in this matter, except of course it would sue for the removal of Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa as president of the Court of Appeal!. The onus of the proof of guilt rests on PDP. The question is, what is the crime of this woman?
‘We are inclined to believe that the PDP is on the edge because it could not penetrate the current set up of the tribunal to do its fraudulent bidding. ‘No matter how strongly the PDP tries to question the integrity of the judges, it would not be able to frustrate their work.
“If the PDP were smart, it should go to the tribunal with solid legal argument and proof that will not only convince the judges, it will also be clear to the layman. No amount of desperation can win this case for the PDP.”