The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has come down hard on President Muhammadu Buhari over his comments on the nation’s judiciary.
Mr. Buhari had on Sunday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, said his ongoing fight against corruption in Nigeria could be effectively tackled with the strong support of the judiciary.
A statement by Mr. Buhari’s spokesperson, Femi Adesina, quoted the president as saying that far-reaching reforms of the judiciary remained a key priority for his administration.
“On the fight against corruption vis-à-vis the judiciary, Nigerians will be right to say that is my main headache for now,” he said.
The president, who recalled all his past attempts to get elected, said if not for God and the use of technology, he would not have emerged as president in the 2015 elections.
He also recalled how his cases before the judiciary were resolved unfavourably.
The PDP on Monday called on the judiciary, “as the last hope of the common man”, to continue to assert its independence and not allow itself to be deterred from upholding justice and the rule of law, no matter the pressure.
The acting national chairman of the party, Uche Secondus, who spoke during the inauguration of the Imo State caretaker committee, said the “judicial community and in fact, all discerning Nigerians, were shocked by the release by the presidency on Sunday wherein President Muhammadu Buhari was quoted to have described the judiciary as the “major headache” of his administration.
“This statement is a direct affront on the statutorily guaranteed independence of the judiciary and more worrisome is the fact that a President of a country had to tie back already settled judgments of the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, in cases involving him, as a benchmark of his assessment of the institution of the judiciary at the moment,” Mr. Secondus said.
PDP said the remarks by the president was intended to “blackmail and stampede the judiciary to deliver judgments against the PDP in various pending cases involving the party and some of its leaders in the courts.
“While we urge the judiciary to ensure that it adequately guards its flanks from all external influences, we also caution the executive to focus on governance, while respecting the constitutionally guaranteed principle of separation of powers by allowing the judiciary and the legislature indeed, all statutory arms of government to freely operate within the bounds provided by our laws,” Mr. Secondus said.
The PDP chairman charged the caretaker committee being inaugurated to be fair, just and balanced, and to also accommodate every interest and restore Imo PDP to winning ways.