The All Progressives Congress, APC, has called for the immediate dissolution of the Osun Governorship Election Tribunal and the reconstitution of a new one, to engender the confidence of the public.
In a statement issued in Benin City, Edo State, on Friday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said the reported removal of the Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice I.M. Bako, on the basis of a petition written by some people, has tainted the tribunal, hence the need to constitute a fresh one.
The removal of the tribunal chair, Mr. Bako was earlier announced by the President of the Court of Appeal, Zainab Bulkachuwa, Friday.
Mr. Bako was removed barely two weeks after the panel started sitting.
The three-man tribunal began sitting on August 27. Its other members are Justices A.M. Awwalu and Benson Ogbu.
APC however said it is not satisfied with the removal of the chairman alone.
”According to the information at our disposal, the PDP used one of the candidates in the Aug. 9th gubernatorial election in the state to orchestrate the removal of the Tribunal Chairman, whom the party (PDP) considered not pliable enough for the achievement of its evil machination. Therefore, this removal is unacceptable to us, because it suggests that some dark forces are teleguiding the proceedings of the Tribunal – a development that is inimical to the fair delivery of justice.
”When we got this information about a week ago, we did not lend it much credence, believing that the judiciary will not pander to the PDP or any party whatsoever in the execution of its Constitutional duties. But when we read the published report on Friday that the Chairman of the Tribunal has been removed, we were very worried.
”While our confidence in the judiciary remains unshaken, we believe this important arm of government must be shielded from political interference in the interest of justice, and in order for the citizenry not to lose confidence in it,” it said.
The party said that PDP, having lost at the poll, is desperately seeking to barge into the government House in Osogbo through the back door.
The party said the PDP had been engaging in irresponsible manipulation of facts since it lost the election last month.
”The most glaring has been the attempt by the PDP to deceive the public over the reason why INEC suspended two of its staffers over the Osun election. While these men were actually suspended for trying to rig the election in favour of the PDP, the PDP has put out a shameful lie that they were suspended for manipulating the election result from two local governments to favour the APC!
”This is most uncharitable and it shows the lack of integrity and character by those who are desperately seeking to rule over Osun State. One of the INEC officials in question is Segun Eshinlokun, the Electoral Officer of Obokun Local Government in Osun State who, along with one Ismalia Taofik, was caught with electoral materials before they were distributed by INEC.
”The second is the Electoral Officer for Osogbo Local Government, who is a card-carrying member of the PDP. It is instructive that these men were suspended following the petitions written by the APC in Osun State. How this was now twisted to make the public to believe that the men were suspended because they attempted to manipulate the election in favour of the APC is simply incredulous,” it said.
APC said that in view of the clear desperation by the rejected candidate of the PDP in the August 9 polls, all APC members and supporters in particular and the entire people of Osun in general must remain vigilant in order to “frustrate the undisguised attempt by the enemies of progress and anti-democratic forces to thwart the will of the people of the state, which they expressed on Aug. 9th despite all acts of intimidation and harassment”.