EO6: Protect Judiciary from fascism, PDP charges CJN
THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday called on the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, to immediately protect the institution of the judiciary from the unconstitutional and repressive fascist policies being foisted on the system by the President Muhammadu Buhari Presidency.
It has also charged the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Yakubu Mahmood, not to succumb to pressure by the Presidency, to return Mrs. Amina Zakari as Director of Operations.
The party said in a statement issued in Abuja by Kola Ologbondiyan, its National Publicity Secretary, the admission by the Buhari Presidency, on Sunday, that “its obnoxious Executive Order 6, as well as the travel ban and trailing of citizens, are devised to directly interfere in judicial processes and stifle accused persons of resources, under the guise of speedy trial, has left no one in doubt that the nation is fast sliding into fascism.”
PDP noted that the Buhari Presidency has commenced an attack on the independence of the judiciary, using the instrument of blackmail and aspersion on its integrity and capacity to effectively and timeously dispense justice.
It said: “In trying to use his Executive Order 6 to determine the process, procedures and progression of cases in court, the Buhari Presidency directly seeks to usurp, commandeer and appropriate the constitutional powers of the judiciary and then arm-twist the courts and use them as ‘slaughterhouses’ for opposition members and perceived political opponents.
“We invite Nigerians to further note that the action of the Buhari Presidency is a direct attempt to suspend sections 6 (6)(b), 36 (5), (6)(d) and 37 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“While section 6 (6)(b) provides that judicial powers of the court shall ‘extend to all matters between persons, or between government or authority and to any person in Nigeria, and to all actions and proceedings relating thereto, for the determination of any question as to the civil rights and obligations of that person”. Section 36 (6) (d) provides that, ‘every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be entitled to be given adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence.’
“Moreover, Section 36 (5) provides that, ‘every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed to be innocent until he is proven guilty.’
“Furthermore, Section 37 stipulates that ‘the privacy of citizens, their homes, correspondence, telephone conversation and telegraphic communications is hereby guaranteed and protected.’
It observed that the travel ban, trailing of citizens and attempt to regulate the processes of the court is, therefore, an attempt to short-circuit the constitutional powers of the judiciary and foist a fascist regime where the Presidency becomes the investigator, prosecutor and the judge in determination of trumped-up charges against innocent Nigerians.
The PDP rejected what it called the attempt by this administration to return the country to pre-1984 military dictatorship “where siege mentality and suppression of rights of citizens was the rule rather than the exception.”
It, therefore, urges the Judiciary as the last hope of the common man, to immediately insulate itself from the evil machination of the All Progressives Congress (APC), “which is now trying to turn the judiciary into an instrument of oppression against Nigerians.”
On Amina Zakari who was recently redeployed by the INEC boss, the PDP cautioned that Nigerians are already aware of the pressure from the Buhari Presidency to return, “a blood relation of President Muhammadu Buhari, as Director Operation, so that they can use her to manipulate the electoral processes and rig the election for President Buhari.”
While the PDP noted the redeployment of Amina Zakari to another directorate, the party nevertheless, reaffirmed its position that her continuous stay in the commission constitutes a threat to free, fair and credible 2019 general elections, given her relationship with President Buhari, who is a major contender in the election.
The main opposition party noted that Zakari’s removal as Director of Operations has been hailed by majority of Nigerians, “a fact, which shows that voters had already lost confidence in her integrity to hold such a sensitive position, for which they prefer her outright removal from the commission.
The PDP also charged INEC not to change its statute-backed stand on the exclusion of Zamfara state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from presenting candidates in the 2019 general elections, following its failure to conduct congresses.
It observed that Nigerians are also already abreast of the provisions of the law leading to the exclusion of Zamfara state APC chapter from presenting candidates for the elections and we caution INEC against any contemplations to change the rules for the APC.
It added: “The case of Amina Zakari and that of Zamfara APC constitute another direct integrity test for Prof. Yakubu on his capacity, integrity and readiness for free, fair and credible general elections in 2019.”
The PDP, therefore, charged Prof. Yakubu to ensure that he remains on the side of the people and take urgent steps to weed the commission of compromised officials, “as Nigerians will accept nothing short of a transparent process in their quest for a replacement for the reckless, vindictive, incompetent and anti-people Buhari-led APC administration.”