CJN, Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad
Supreme Court reads riot act on politicians
Nigeria’s Supreme Court said, on Monday, October 14, it will not hesitate to punish anyone or group that peddles fake allegations concerning the election petition of Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the last presidential election.
Speaking through Festus Akande, its director of press and information, the Supreme Court dismissed the allegations by the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) claiming there was a plot to manipulate the selection of justices for the presidential election appeal panel.
While describing the allegations as a campaign of calumny, the court said: “We wish to state clearly that CUPP is not and can never constitute itself into an agency of the Nigerian judiciary or assume the role of an alternate Supreme Court of Nigeria.
“Let it be known that the Supreme Court is not an assemblage of individuals with no defined purpose, vision and modus operandi.
“Our operations are strictly guided by the constitution and extant laws.”
The apex court warned that it is not an appendage of any individual or group of people, and that it does not pander to the dictates of anybody or association.
The court described itself and the judiciary as an independent arm of government that could never be intimidated or dictated to by anybody.
“We should be mindful of our utterances to avoid inflicting a devastating harm on the nation.
“This exhibition of unbridled utterances and prevarication will only endanger the progress and cohesiveness of our country,” the statement reported by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said.
The statement added that the apex court had entertained presidential election appeals over the decades but that the unnecessary hysteria and superlative drama being woven around this particular one calls for caution and moderation.
“The constitution of any panel to sit on a matter in the court is the sole prerogative of the Supreme Court and it is never an issue for the court to debate on the television or pages of newspapers.
“We are not a political party or social club and should never be dragged into any form of baseless pedestrian discussions that will drive valid reasoning aground,” the statement said.
It will be recalled that the CUPP had accused the federal government of making moves to foil the appeal of Atiku Abubakar at the Supreme Court.
The allegation was made by the spokesman of CUPP, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, during a press briefing in Abuja.