The Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), has asked its members and those it described as lovers of democracy to take to the streets of the Federal Capital Territory(FCT), Abuja on Monday to protest against the Supreme Court’s verdict on the Imo State governorship election.
The apex court had on Tuesday sacked Emeka Ihedioha as the state governor.
The Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) had declared Ihedioha, the candidate of the PDP, the winner of the March 2019 governorship election in the state.
However, the Supreme Court ordered INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to him and issue a new one to the candidate of the All Progressives Congress(APC), Sen. Hope Uzodinma, who it said was the duly elected governor of the state.
But the PDP in a statement by its by National Organising Secretary, Col Austin Akobundu (retd.), said the party’s National Executive Committee as directed by the National Chairman, Uche Secondus, will hold a protest rally against the judgement in Abuja on Monday.
According to Akobundu, the planned protest will avail the party the opportunity to register its displeasure against the apex court’s judgment and the current state of affairs in Nigeria.
He said the protest would take off from the party’s secretariat, popularly called Legacy House at Maitama, Abuja by 9am.
Akobundu said: “In line with the approval of the National Executive Committee of our great party, the National Chairman has directed that a peaceful, civil and non-violent protest be organised in the FCT to register the displeasure of the party against the current state of affairs in the country, especially the miscarriage of justice of the Supreme Court against the lawfully elected governor of Imo State.
“This is a clarion call to all lovers of democracy as we join hands to save our dear nation.
“God bless the Peoples Democratic Party. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
My sacking remains a mystery, says Ihedioha
Meanwhile, Ihedioha on Saturday said his sacking by the court remained “a mystery.”
The former governor, who spoke when members of the PDP National Working Committee paid him a solidarity visit in Abuja, also said the judgement would define Nigeria’s democracy.
He said: “This is a replica of the kind of attention the event of that black Tuesday resonated across the country. We are as shocked as you; it was never anticipated. All legal pundits and democratic watchers never imagined and anticipated it, so for us it remains a mystery. But we take solace in Ecclesiastes 3:1 that to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
“I believe that event will define obviously our democracy. I am certain that the judiciary and electoral systems are well aware that they are on trial. And what is fundamental about this is that the fact of the matter as relating to the Imo State governorship election is that the foundation of our democratic processes, the elections in Imo were closely monitored, well advertised and everybody in Nigeria followed it.
“The results were very clear, the electoral umpire still have the results, and INEC has stated clearly that the results in question and the figures are not summing up.”
Ihedioha said the judgment was not about himself or about the people of the state but about the future of democracy in the country, adding that despite the setback,he remained a committed PDP member.
“I want to assure you that we will remain resolute and committed to the ideals of our great party. And I want to say that that vent will not put into question our faith in the Nigerian nation. It will not question our commitment to democracy, it will rather strengthen our resolve to march forward and make Nigeria a greater nation.
“This is not the time to celebrate. I pity anyone who is celebrating that sad event. If anyone is celebrating, that person is not a student of democracy. Our forefathers worked so hard to get us to where we are, and that is indisputable,” he said.
Supreme Court should reverse itself- Secondus
PDP’s national chairman, Secondus, reiterated his party’s call on the Supreme Court to reverse the judgment.
He said: “In the case of Imo State, we have more questions than answers because we can’t see the figures adding up. These are the questions agitating our minds and the minds of Nigerians.
“I want to appeal to our brothers who are on the other side to stop trivialising these issues. They are of fundamental importance in nature. Reference are made in Sokoto, Rivers and Zamfara states. You cannot compare what happened in those states with Imo. Let them come out and tell us what really happened, from the tribunal to the Appeal Court up to the Supreme Court in the 388 polling units.
“What we seek in the case of Imo is for the Supreme Court to review it (judgement) and I believe that God will touch them to review it and they will reverse it in the interest of our nation so that we don’t celebrate the situation we found ourselves.”
The PDP also on Saturday said it has reliable information that certain Justices of the Supreme Court have been blaming leaders of the APC and the Presidency for allegedly compromising and dragging them into disgraceful plots of subverting the will of the electorate and the nation’s democracy.
The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement, said there had been public outcry against the apex court’s judgement on the Imo State governorship election.
The APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, had during a media briefing said the PDP was reckless and believe it is its “birthright to benefit from electoral fraud.”
He said the call by the PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus for the resignation of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Mohammed, was the height of recklessness exhibited by the PDP, and an effort to cause civil unrest in the country.
Oshiomhole said: “The PDP is not only reckless (but) it believes it is its birthright to benefit from electoral fraud. Courts are bound to interpret laws according to the constitution. No court has the power to bend the 1999 constitution of Nigeria as amended.”
But Ologbondiyan said the PDP was aware of why Oshiomhole has suddenly become the mouth piece of the apex court.
According to him, Oshiomohole was desperate to blur public agitation against the alleged injustice against Ihedioha.
He stated that Oshiomhole’s response further confirmed that the APC is in league with the Tanko-led Supreme Court in allegedly perverting justice in the Imo governorship election judgment as well as the alleged plots to use the court to take over other PDP-controlled states of Bauchi, Sokoto, Adamawa and Benue.
Ologbondiyan said that was the reason Oshiomhole desperately sought to politicise the issue and divert public attention as a stop gap measure.
He said it was loathsome that Oshiomhole could resort to hauling insults on Nigerians, including the PDP leaders, in his bid to divert public attention from the perversion of justice by the Supreme Court in favour of APC.
“We have reliable information that certain justices of the court have been blaming APC leaders and the Presidency for compromising and dragging them into the disgraceful plots; the reason Oshiomhole now desperately seeks to politicise the issue and divert public attention as a stop gap measure.
“This attempt is indeed dead on arrival as the PDP, standing with the generality of Nigerians and lovers of democracy all over the world, will not relent in mobilising the citizens in pursuit of an end to this and many other injustices that pervade our nation presently.
“Of course, Oshiomhole and Justice Tanko Mohammed are reminded that, as stated by Thomas Jefferson, ‘when injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.’
“Nothing, not even the ranting of a character like Adams Oshiomhole, can stop over 180 million Nigerians from speaking out against injustice particularly at the Supreme Court, as injustice to one is injustice to all.”
“Whatever the PDP and their leaders like, let them say. They are used to saying rubbish and we are not surprised.
“Nigerians are already aware of their arm-twist tactics and it would no longer work. It is their trade in store to blackmail people to have their way but people will no longer fall for their antics,” Ologbondiyan sad
APC govs warn PDP to stop castigating judiciary
The APC governors have also warned the PDP against castigating the judiciary.
The governors gave the warning while reacting to the call for the resignation of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Mohammed, by the PDP’s national chairman.
Secondus had said the justices of the apex court under the CJN had become compromised.
But the APC governors, in a statement by its chairman and governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, described Secondus’ criticism of the justices as contemptuous and disrespectful to democracy.
“These are depressing allegations coming from supposedly democratic leaders who should ordinarily be in the forefront of protecting and defending the judicial institution as the sanctuary of our democracy.
“It is contemptuous and disrespectful to our democracy. This is most unfortunate and condemnable,” the statement said.
The APC governors called on Nigerians and all lovers of democracy in the country to rise to the defence of democratic institutions, especially the judiciary.
“We must prevail on the PDP leadership and all politicians to exercise restraint by demonstrating unalloyed loyalty and respect for our democratic institutions, particularly our judiciary, which is the most important pillar of democratic governance.
“To allege that a judgment delivered by Supreme Court judges is ‘procured’ simply because it does not favour the PDP is an invitation to anarchy.
“It is on record that the President has at all times stated his commitment to democracy and rule of law. Our party has lost elections we thought we will win. Equally, our party has been stopped from participation in elections by the judiciary, for example in Rivers State. The case of Zamfara where we won the election but the Supreme Court in its wisdom nullified all our votes and declared PDP candidates as winners is another experience,” Bagudu said
The APC governors recalled that APC members had lost seats even to the PDP through judicial pronouncements and yet did not abuse the judiciary.
“As progressive governors, we hereby declare abiding faith in our judiciary and will at all times respect all decisions of our judges at all levels no matter the circumstances. Our party and our members believe in the sanctity of our judicial institution as the last hope for justice for our people.
“We wish to unequivocally state our resolve to work with all democrats in the country to ensure adequate protection of democratic governance by respecting all judgments from our courts,” the statement added.