PDP attempts to set record straight
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has lambasted the former President of the Court of Appeal, Ayo Salami, for claiming to be a victim while casting aspersion on President Goodluck Jonathan as well as some judges and members of the National Judicial Council, NJC.
Mr. Salami had, last week, during the public presentation of a book written on him, and at a valedictory session of the Court of Appeal in his honour, stated that he was betrayed by a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, and the NJC. He accused the NJC of jettisoning its role to the executive.
The PDP in a statement, on Monday, by its spokesperson, Olisa Metuh, said Mr. Salami had, in his comments, attempted to distort facts and history.
The party said that it regarded the judge’s action as capable of misleading the country, and decided to set the records straight.
Mr. Metuh said that, contrary to what the opposition linked media would like the public to believe, the NJC had found Mr. Salami guilty of perjuring himself, and lying against the then Chief Justice of Nigeria, Aloysius Katsina-Alu.
He said it was public knowledge that the Council suspended Mr. Salami following his refusal to abide by its directive to apologise to Mr. Katsina-Alu. He added that, based on this, the NJC had also recommended Mr. Salami’s retirement to President Jonathan.
“It is also public knowledge that President Jonathan, being a man governed by the Rule of Law, refused to take sides or interfere in the matter, and chose to allow the judiciary sort out its complications in the Salami affairs, more so as Justice Salami had gone to court to challenge the findings of the NJC,” Mr. Metuh said.
Mr. Metuh claimed that the evidence given by Telecom company, MTN Nigeria, in an open court, indicated that call logs tendered in evidence were in fact true records of a series of calls between leaders of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN and Mr. Salami.
The judge had presided over the Court of Appeal when the court upturned governorship elections in Osun, Ekiti and Edo States. The court had ruled based on evidence provided that the PDP governors in those states were beneficiaries of rigged elections.
“Nigerians are no fools. Justice Salami’s public romance with the beneficiaries of the controversial ruling of his Court, including governors who won their seats by virtue of the ruling and as well as other ACN chieftains at his book launch recently, openly betrays the hidden facts regarding the handling of the election appeals under him. This clearly raises issues regarding his culpability by association to pervert the course of justice in the issue,” he said.
The PDP spokesperson said that Nigerians should note that under the administration of Mr. Jonathan, separation of powers and respect for the rule of law have been the hallmark, such that, there has been no Executive/Legislative face-off and court judgments have been obeyed.
Also, according to him, elections under the administration have been free, fair and credible and have resulted in an over 100 percent reduction in election petition cases.
“Our candid advice to Justice Salami is that it is impossible to gain the confidence of new friends by betraying old friends,” Mr. Metuh said.
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