The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of attempting to compromise the judiciary in the aftermath of the 2023 presidential election.
Atiku and Peter Obi from the Labour Party (LP) are both challenging the victory of Bola Tinubu, the candidate of the APC, who was declared the winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
One of the main grounds for their challenge is Tinubu’s failure to secure at least 25% of the votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
However, Tinubu’s counsel, Wole Olanipekun, has argued that the FCT should be considered the 37th state for electoral purposes, and interpreting it otherwise would lead to confusion and alter the legislative intention.
In a statement released by Atiku’s media adviser, Paul Ibe, on Saturday, Atiku expressed concern that the APC and Tinubu’s agents are continuously obstructing justice by resorting to threats and intimidation, attempting to bend the judiciary to their will.
According to the statement, the APC’s plan seems to be aimed at intimidating the judiciary and coercing judges into making decisions according to their desires. This tactic, Atiku points out, was used in 2019 when the Chief Justice of Nigeria was removed and replaced with Tanko Muhammad, who later faced corruption accusations by his Supreme Court colleagues and resigned under shame.
Atiku’s statement seeks to highlight the need for a fair and unbiased judicial process in handling electoral challenges, stressing the importance of upholding the rule of law and protecting the integrity of the judiciary.
However, Tinubu, through his counsel, Wole Olanipekun, argued that the FCT is the 37th state for electoral purposes and any other interpretation would “lead to absurdity, chaos, anarchy and alteration of the very intention of the legislature.”
Atiku, in a statement signed by his media adviser, Paul Ibe on Saturday, said the APC and agents of Tinubu have “ceaselessly chosen to stand in the way of justice by making “catastrophic threats to anarchy if justice is not served according to their whims.”
“The plot of the APC is simple: intimidate the judiciary, threaten judges with arrest so that they will bow to their will. This is a playbook from 2019, when they removed the CJN and then replaced him with Tanko Muhammad, who himself was later accused of corruption by his colleagues at the Supreme Court and resigned shamefully,” the statement reads in part.