The National Headquarters of the Court of Appeal has said that the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Osun, constituted to hear matters arising from the recently concluded governorship poll in the state has not been disbanded as claimed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
Reacting to the protest by members of the PDP in Osun state at the premises of the state high court, following the alleged disbandment of the governorship election petition tribunal, the Head of Media and Publicity of the Court of Appeal, Hajia Sa’adatu Musa Kachalla said, the tribunal was not disbanded.
She said, what the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa did was to rotate members of the panel sitting on the governorship election petition tribunal in the state.
Hajia Kachalla told Nigerian Tribune that. “What the President of the Court of Appeal has done was to re-organise members of the panel.
“It is a normal practice, as such was done in Imo state in October 2016 and also in Benue state in July 2015. She has the constitutional power to do so”, she said.
The Court of Appeal spokeswoman assured that the tribunal will soon commence sitting to hear the petition of Senator Ademola Adeleke and his party.
She said everything done by the Justice Bulkachuwa was in good fate for the development of democracy.
It was reported that PDP members staged a peaceful protest at the premises of the court, where the tribunal is sitting, carrying placards with the inscriptions such as ‘Why the sudden disbandment of the panel?’ Constitute a new panel immediately now?’ No more Salamigate in Osun’ Save our democracy from rogues.’
The protesters said that the alleged disbandment would have a negative effect on the case of the petitioner.
The Osun state chairman of the PDP, Hon Soji Adagunodo had in a statement yesterday said the disbandment of the tribunal was an attempt to commit a second robbery against the people of Osun State.
The statement said, “The disbandment of the tribunal barely 24 hours after the submission of the petition by the Governorship candidate of the PDP, Senator Nurudeen Ademola Adeleke poses a serious threat to the free and fair administration of justice in the hearing of the petition.
“The PDP is concerned that the All Progressive Congress and indeed the Federal Government appears to be breathing down on the top echelon of the judiciary to constitute a new panel which will be pliable and thus compromise the integrity of the tribunal as a means to manipulating the outcome of the judicial process in favour of the APC.
“We equally have it on good authority that the disbandment of the Osun State Governorship Election petition tribunal is one of the devices the APC plans to use to delay the commencement of the hearing of our petition with a hope that the constitutionally prescribed trial period of hearing would not be met”, the statement added.
The PDP regards this as a continuation of the desperate antics of the APC to frustrate the genuine desire of the good people of Osun State to be governed by a lawfully elected Governor whose mandate was brazenly stolen on the 22nd of September, 2018.
The statement appealed to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) , Justice Walter Onnoghen to pay closer attention to the constitution and general conduct of the Governorship Election petition tribunal in Osun State and save the state’s democracy from an avoidable mishap which may result from any form of manipulation of the judicial process to favour the ruling party.
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