BY Dyepkazah Shibayan
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is seeking a review of what it described as “biased” verdicts delivered by election panels set up to entertain appeals from petition tribunals.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, Umar Damagum, acting national chair of the PDP, said the judgments are recipes for chaos in an already tense Plateau state, for instance.
In October, the court of appeal sacked Simon Mwadkwon, senator representing Plateau north, and ordered a rerun.
Mwadkwon is the minority leader of the senate.
Damagum said Monica Dongban-Mensem, president of the appeal court, should set up a new election panel to review the judgments.
“Our party exposed how, in a bizarre pattern, the Plateau State Election Appeal Court Panel ordered a rerun where the PDP won and the APC came third, while where the APC came second, it ordered that the Certificate of Return issued to the victorious PDP candidate be withdrawn and a new Certificate of Return be issued to the defeated APC candidate, who came second in the election,” the acting chair said.
“The consequence is that the judiciary is allowing itself to be seen as an institution that has no regard for the sovereignty of the people and their constitutionally guaranteed rights in an electoral process under our laws.
“The PDP also urges the CJN and the President of the Court of Appeal, as very experienced judicial officers, to restore confidence in the judiciary by immediately disbanding the present Plateau State Election Appeal Court Panel, set up a new Appeal Panel and subject the bias judgments by the Plateau State Election Appeal Court Panel to judicial review.
“This is the only way to avert crisis in Plateau State and redeem the image of the judiciary from further negative public commentary.
“The PDP will not relent in all its efforts to defend and preserve our democracy, respect for the will of the people as well as the integrity of the judiciary particularly in the handling of electoral matters in the country.”
Damagum said Nigerians should rise and defend the “integrity of our judicial system and stem a looming crisis in our beloved country”.