The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has opposed the inauguration of members of the election tribunal by the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how Mr Muhammad was appointed in controversial circumstances by President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday. On Saturday, he inaugurated 250 members of the presidential and National Assembly election tribunal, a task already scheduled to be performed by Walter Onnoghen
Mr Onnoghen was controversially suspended as Chief Justice of Nigeria on Friday by Mr Buhari following allegations of false assets declaration. That suspension has drawn widespread criticism from Nigerians and the international community.
The PDP in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbodiyan, on Saturday evening said Mr Muhammad only allowed himself to be used to desecrate the hallowed temple of justice.
“The People’s Democratic Party notes the illegal swearing in of members of the election petitions tribunal by Justice Mohammed Tanko and surmised that his action was a complete nullity.
“In the face of our law, Justice Tanko cannot function as a CJN as there is no vacancy in that office since the 1999 Constitution (as amended) has no provision for two CJN at any particular time. Justice Walter Onnoghen is still in charge as the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
“It is also imperative for Justice Tanko to agree that, having allowed himself to be used to desecrate the hallowed temple of justice, his oath of office and oath of allegiance, the only option left for him is to quit the bench.
“The PDP reminds Tanko of his membership of the panel set up by the NJC, which on March 14, 2018, forced Justice Obisike Orji to quit the bench and go on a compulsory retirement, for allowing himself to be sworn in as the Ag. CJ of Abia State without the recommendation of NJC.
“From Justice Tanko’s first illegal assignment, which is the swearing-in of election tribunal Justices for the forthcoming elections, Nigerians can now see the raison d’etre for his illegal appointment. This action is in itself a nullity and something cannot be built on nothing.
“Nigerians can recall that the PDP had always alerted that Muhammadu Buhari is bent on removing Onnoghen so as to replace him with a pliable CJN that would help him uphold his rigging plots & achieve his self-succession bid, having realized that he cannot win in any free & fair election
“We want President Buhari to know that Nigerians, irrespective of tribe, creed or political leaning, will never allow anybody, no matter how highly placed, to push our nation to the abyss of anarchy,” the opposition party said.
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