APC has budgeted N150m to ‘buy’ appeal court justices, says PDP •Claims APC ‘bought’ judgment against Kashamu

Posted by News Express | 22 November 2015 | 4,199 times

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Senator representing Ogun East Senatorial District, Prince Buruji Kashamu have petitioned the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, demanding the disbandment of the Ogun State Court of Appeal Panel sitting in Ibadan over allegations of inducement, influence peddling and pervasion of justice.

In two separate petitions to the President of the Court of Appeal, the PDP and Kashamu alleged that the All Progressives Congress (APC) had through a Senior Advocate of Nigeria compromised the members of the Appeal Panel empanelled to entertain appeals arising from the outcomes of the National Assembly and States Assemblies Elections petitions in Ogun State.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had accused the ruling All Progressives’ Congress (APC) of influencing a recent judgement of the Ogun State Elections Petition Tribunal ordering a re-run of elections in several constituencies in the state.

PDP pointedly accused  APC of channelling N150 million through a senior lawyer from a North Eastern part of the country to help it get a “favourable” judgement in the Court of Appeal, even as the party asked for a disbandment of the Appeal panel.

The allegations were raised in separate petitions to the President, Court of Appeal by the PDP, and Senator representing Ogun East, Buruji Kashamu.

In the letter dated November 18, 2015, and signed by PDP secretary in Ogun State Alhaji Semiu Shodipo‎, the party faulted the decision of the tribunal in ordering fresh elections in certain wards even when APC didn’t make such prayers.

Titled ‘Compromise of Ibadan Election Petitions Appeal Panel by the APC for Ogun State Election Petitions’, the ‎PDP blamed the loss of its candidates at the Elections tribunal on the fact that it toyed with reports on the unholy alliance between some APC chieftains and the tribunal panellists.

According to the PDP secretary, the “allegations of compromise of the trial Tribunal members by the APC candidates...led to petitions submitted to the National Judicial Council against the said Tribunal members. This petition is however written to seek your Lordship’s intervention in respect of the appearance of a clear likelihood of bias on the part of the Justices of the Court of Appeal empanelled to sit as the Elections Petitions Appeal Tribunal (at the Court of Appeal, Ibadan) in respect of appeals from the judgment of the Ogun State trial Tribunal,” wrote the PDP scribe.

He continued: “This intervention is required for the reconstitution of the said panel because of the close relationship of one of the counsel of the APC candidates and the Senior Advocate of Nigeria to at least two of the said Justices; which relationship the APC candidates have boasted is to be used to compromise the said justices to order the return of the APC candidates or to uphold the decision of the Tribunal for reruns of all the elections. It has been boasted to my hearing by one of the APC candidates that the sum of 150 million Naira was paid to (names withheld) to ensure that the result of the appeals filed to the said panel end in favour of the APC candidates.”

The petition recalled how a certain Dapo Abiodun, APC's senatorial candidate, had before the tribunal delivered judgment, publicly boasted that his party had a deal with some judges to upturn PDP's victory.

“Our suspicion was heightened when by Thursday 8th of October the leadership of the party distributed branded t-shirts to members of the APC and they had bought cows and were making merriment in celebration of their anticipated victory even before the reading of the judgment of the tribunal,” lamented the PDP scribe.

More shocking, said the scribe, was “that the entries that the tribunal used in the judgment as the basis for its decision that there were irregularities and discrepancy in the scores of the parties in the INEC FORMS EC8A (II) and EC8B (II) did not emanate from the result sheets and voters registers submitted to the tribunal in evidence.

“My Lord, if it has been established that 91 out of the 110 polling units cancelled were not challenged by the petitioners, where did the tribunal get the evidence it used in nullifying the result of the election in those places?” posed PDP.

“It is in the above circumstances that we humbly request that you intervene and save us from a situation that could occasion a miscarriage of justice by reconstituting the panel in such a way that its independence and impartiality may be guaranteed,” declared PDP.

Senator Kashamu had in his own petition “noted that on the day the tribunal delivered the judgment, Justice Tobi took about 15minutes to address the counsel and litigants about the issues of corruption of the tribunal which was rife in the state. He admonished parties not to fight but accept the judgment in good faith. He said although he and his colleagues did not collect any money from anyone to do his/her bidding, the money should choke them if they did.

However, upon receiving the certified true copy of the judgment after it was delivered, I found, to my utmost surprise that the tribunal ignored the facts of the case before them and descended into the arena.

“A careful perusal of the judgement vis-à-vis the pleadings of the petitioners showed that 91 out of 110 polling units that the tribunal nullified were not even pleaded by the petitioners let alone evidence being led to them.Upon the study of the judgement, I discovered that the tribunal in a desperate attempt to assist the APC, cancelled the result of 110 polling units that the tribunal nullified were not even pleaded by the petitioners let alone evidence being led to them. Had the APC complained about these polling units in their petition, my lawyers would have been in a position to provide evidence in respect of those polling units.

“My lord, if from the foregoing, it has been established that 91 out of 110 polling units cancelled were not challenged by the petitioners, where did the tribunal get the evidence it used in nullifying the result of the election in those places? That is the crux of the matter.

“The tribunal enormously directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh election in the affected polling unit where the result of election were cancelled. What is more, after cancelling/voiding of votes which the Tribunal found were not lawful votes, it awarded 70,077 votes to Dapo Abiodun and gave me 75,856. I still led my opponent by 5,179 votes, yet it failed to affirm my victory. This is the more reason it is imperative that the allegation of miscarriage of justice is investigated and its veracity or otherwise of the claim is established.”

Senator Kashamu further said that “I am of the firm belief that the conduct of the members of the tribunal with respect to its barefaced pervasion of justice under reference should be investigated by the chairman of the National judicial Council so that truth and justice prevail in the end.”

•Photo shows Appeal Court President, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa.


Source: News Express

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