Plateau: Appeal Court verdict, plot to foist one-party on Nigeria — PDP
By Leon Usigbe
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the Appeal Court judgment invalidating the election of Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State and replacing him with the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as part of the plot to engineer a one-party state in the country.
The National Publicity Secretary of the main opposition party, Debo Ologunagba, who said this in his preliminary reaction to the verdict delivered on Sunday, said the PDP had been trying to draw attention to the attempt to eliminate the opposition using the judiciary.
While he noted that he was yet to get the full details of the Appeal Court judgment, he said recent developments suggested that the ruling APC would use the judiciary to achieve the ignoble objective.
Ologunagba had last week raised the alarm over what the PDP saw as the attempt by the present administration to foist a one-party system on the country using the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the judiciary.
He had said that the party wanted to draw the attention of Nigerians and the international community to the fact that “the nation is dangerously sliding into totalitarianism and anarchy under the brazenly repressive and anti-people” ruling party.
The PDP posited that there were attempts and actions by a cabal within the Presidency to emasculate the Institutions of democracy in Nigeria, especially the INEC and the judiciary “in the desperation to foist a one-party State on Nigerians.”
According to the former ruling party, “This unfolding anti-democratic scenario is not only evident in the manipulation of elections but also in the conflicting judgments by electoral Courts, especially some Election Appeal Court Panels which judgments conflict with the express provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the Electoral Act, 2022, INEC’s Guidelines and Regulations for elections.
“What is more worrisome is that these obnoxiously contradictory judgments are targeted at the PDP to the effect that elections that were clearly won by PDP candidates are snatched away at the Courts and awarded to defeated candidates of the APC contrary to the provisions of the Law.
“Aside from the preponderance of such ugly scenarios in Plateau State, the conduct and outcome of certain election petitions in Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Nasarawa and other States of the nation where PDP was robbed of victory through the Courts are pointers to a systemic emasculation of the opposition in a bid to impose a one-party State and pave way for totalitarianism in the country.
“This situation is a clear and present danger to the sustenance of Nigeria’s democracy, unity, political stability and corporate existence as a nation, which is capable of breeding agitation, citizens loss of confidence in the system, restiveness, anarchy and chaos.
“Democracy must be allowed to thrive as the government of the people as expressed by their Will at elections. Any intrusion, breach, violation and/or transgression against that expressed Will as being witnessed today under the APC is a clear recipe for a serious political crisis and portends grave consequences for our country.
“It is therefore imperative to draw the attention of Nigerians and the whole world to the undermining and crippling of democracy and the danger our nation is facing at this moment.”
The PDP had therefore called on President Bola Tinubu, “as the custodian of the government to come clean by speaking out and denouncing any attempt or action that is capable of stifling democracy, the Rule of Law and muzzling of the independence of the Judiciary which is suggestive of a fait accompli on election matters pending before the Courts.’
The party urged the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and the President of the Court of Appeal to step in and assert the independence of the judiciary at this critical time for the defence and sustenance of democracy and the Rule of Law in Nigeria
It charged Nigerians and “indeed all lovers of democracy across the world to rise to the occasion, speak out and take urgent legitimate steps to defend, protect and preserve our hard-earned Democracy from the onslaught of the APC.”