According to reports circulating in some quarters, the Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP, the self acclaimed “Nigeria’s biggest opposition coalition”, yesterday, claimed that it was in possession of a five-man list of justices approved by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, to hear the petition of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in their rejection of the February 23 presidential elections results.
According to the group, Justice Zainab Adamu-Bulkachuwa, will be the Presiding Judge and President Court of Appeal; while Justice Abdu-Aboki; Justice Peter O. Ige; Justice J. S. Ikyegh and Justice S. C. Oseji, are alleged to be members.
In a statement by CUPP’s spokesman, Ikenga Ugochinyere, the Coalition said
“The approved list, which was intercepted by our credible informant during conveyance from the villa back to the Court of Appeal, was drawn from a list of eight justices submitted to the villa for approval Judicial symbol for justice
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“Nigerians will recall that we had earlier raised alarm over the donation of a senatorial ticket to the husband of the President of the Court of Appeal by APC.
“We had questioned the rationale behind such donation when he did not participate in the primaries if not to secure the assurance of his wife, the President of the Court, to constitute with the approval of the Presidency the panel that will hear any petition challenging the outcome of the elections.
“It was also a failure to secure similar assurances from the Chief Justice of the Federation that led to the onslaught on him by the Federal Government as the Honourable Chief Justice had insisted on doing only justice and nothing else.
“The list is drafted in such a way that without any matter properly being before the justices, the panel has been rigged and skewed with three of the justices on the list having been approached and commitments secured from them that no matter the evidence put before them, they were going to rule in favour of the President. Asks Bulkachuwa, Aboki, Ige to recuse themselves from panel
“They are now agents and officers of the president and not officers in the temple of justice. It is based on the foregoing and the evidence in the custody of CUPP that we immediately, categorically and unambiguously demand that Justices Zaibab Bulkachuwa, Justice Aboki and Justice Peter Ige recuse themselves from the panel. Why Osun governorship tribunal was moved to Abuja – Appeal Court
“The intelligence at our disposal, which formed basis for all the views canvassed in this statement, is that these three justices have already given their commitment to the Presidency that they will rule in favour of the president at the tribunal, hence they cannot dispense justice.
“Justices Aboki and Peter Ige in furtherance of this commitment, had already and very strangely so denied Alhaji Atiku Abubakar his application for forensic analysis of the materials used for the Presidential election.
“We also demand that Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa recuses herself from the administrative duty of reconstituting the panel but by an impartial Senior Justice of the Court.
“This idea of the villa approving list of justices that will sit over any matter particularly the one where the President is a party is novel and tyranny taken too far. The President has annexed the judiciary and the hope of the common man is blighted.
“Nigerians must rise in defence of the judiciary and insist that justice must be done in this circumstance.
“Let the world and Nigerians tell Justice Bulkachuwa not take Nigerians for fools and bring the judiciary to further ridicule with her plan to constitute a Tribunal panel that have been briefed with one agenda, which is to stamp the electoral robbery perpetrated by her Husband’s APC party.
“Announcing judges who have shown bias already to the case of Atiku even at the preliminary stage of ordinary requets for forensics analysis of election materials will not augur well for the stability of Nigeria and the institution/wheel of justice.”