Law News
PDP accuses FG of planning to transfer tribunal judges

The Peoples Democratic Party on Tuesday alleged that it had uncovered fresh plots by the government to tinker with the composition of the election tribunal’s judges in Rivers and other states under its control.

It said the idea behind the move was to replace those judges with those it described as “pliable judges to overturn the party’s victory in the last general elections.”

The party said it has “concrete evidence that the All Progressives Congress-led administration was set to transfer “uncooperative tribunal judges and replace them with malleable ones to overturn the PDP’s electoral victory in Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Abia, Taraba and Delta states and hand them over to the APC.”

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, who stated this in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday, said his party would resist such moves.

The statement said, “Following the insistence by some tribunal judges on delivering justice, despite the pressure being mounted by the APC government, machineries have been put in motion to influence the outcome of the judicial process by replacing them with those already briefed to do the bidding of the APC government.”

“Part of the plot is to use the Department of State Services and some unscrupulous officials of the independent National Electoral Commission to tamper with official records of evidence and other electoral documents in INEC’s custody for presentation at the tribunals, which would be manned by the compromised judicial officials.

“We have uncovered an unholy alliance between the DSS and INEC to interfere directly in the activities of election tribunals in some PDP states, by removing and altering some records in INEC and instigating the APC to insist that there were no elections in those states.”

He said that after the elections, the former INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, had said that there were governorship elections in Rivers, Abia, Taraba, Akwa-Ibom and Delta states.

However, upon prodding by the APC, Metuh alleged that the DSS and INEC were already interfering with the electoral process, by using some persons in INEC to doctor the results and change the true position of affairs regarding the elections in these states.

He said, “Secondly, we want to inform the nation that any moment from now, some tribunal judges in these states have been marked for transfer. We had earlier informed Nigerians that the DSS was already meeting with some INEC and tribunal officials, ostensibly to compromise the process.

“No, we have found out that because some tribunal members were not cooperating, they have concluded plans to replace them with pliable ones.

“The PDP is alerting the entire nation and the international community of this devious development, which is a direct assault on our democracy.

“You will recall that we have always patiently explained situations that are dangerous to the progress and sustenance of democracy in this country. This is one of them.

“This is a coup against democracy. The question is, why are they interfering with the process and why would they want to remove judges after they have started hearing the cases?”

Reacting to the allegation, the APC National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the PDP was making disparaging comments against the tribunal because it was afraid of losing the oil-rich states.

The ruling party said the PDP planned to use Rivers and Akwa Ibom resources to fund itself and that was why it was making spurious allegations in order to pre-empt the judiciary.

It said the Federal Government would never undermine the independence of the judiciary.

The statement read, “The PDP is throwing wild allegations against the tribunals in Rivers and other states because the party knows it stole the votes in those states.

“The affected states are the cash cows of the PDP; hence the party is so jittery about losing the states, which they know they did not win in the first instance.

‘’We have confidence in the ability of the tribunals to carry out their duties diligently and without fear or favour. We implore the PDP to be charitable enough to repose the same confidence.”

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