• Ahead of PDP, Atiku’s appeal hearing
BY VICTOR BUORO, ABUJA – The Supreme Court of Nigeria has frowned at what it described as unwarranted attacks on it by the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) ahead of its sitting on the appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its flag-bearer in the February 23, 2019 presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

Breaking from its usual tradition of maintaining dignified silence over media issues, the apex court said the ‘campaign of calumny” against it by CUPP, through its spokesperson, Imo Ugochinyere, is a clear attempt to blackmail and impugn its integrity over the pending appeal instituted by Atiku and PDP against the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT)’s judgment.

According to a statement released on Monday in Abuja, the Supreme Court prided itself as a completely independent body, comprising people with diligent minds, and will therefore not be distracted from its goal of always ensuring justice, irrespective of individuals or groups involved in cases brought before it.

The statement signed by its spokesman Festus Akande, said: “In the light of the blatant falsehood, misinformation and malicious rumour being generously peddled by the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) through its spokesman Imo Ugochinyere, we wish to state clearly that the association is not and can never constitute itself into an agency of the Nigerian Judiciary or assume the role of an alternate Supreme Court of Nigeria.

“We have been watching, rather cautiously, the drama of the absurd being exhibited on daily basis by this association, which sadly debases our collective morality and sense of decency as people from a civilised and well cultured society, like Nigeria.

“Sensitive issues, like the presidential election appeal, should not, in all honesty, be taken to the altar of frivolous drama and misguided oration that is displayed on the screen of our national television with reckless abandon by people who ought to be some sort of role model to the younger generation.

“It will be recalled that even weeks before the presidential election appeal was filed at the Supreme Court, the CUPP had already, in its characteristic manner, constituted its own ‘panel’ for the Supreme Court and aggressively brandished the list on television and newspapers.

“Shortly afterwards, when the appeal was eventually filed at the court, the coalition came out once again with another imaginary list of panel members and followed it with yet another malicious allegation against the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) of ‘handpicking’ them in contrast to the ‘tradition’ of selecting the most senior justices of the court.

“Let it be known that the Supreme Court is not an assemblage of individuals with no defined purpose, vision and modus operandi.

“Our operations are strictly guided by the Constitution and extant laws. We are not an appendage of any individual or group of people, and we don’t pander to the dictates of anybody or association.

“The Supreme Court, and by extension, the Judiciary, is an independent arm of government that can never be intimidated or dictated to by anybody.

“The CUPP’s action only amounts to naming a baby before it is born. We should be mindful of our utterances to avoid inflicting a devastating harm on the nation.

“This exhibition of unbridled utterances and prevarication will only endanger the progress and cohesiveness of our country.

“The Supreme Court has been entertaining presidential election appeals over the decades, but the unnecessary hysteria and superlative drama being woven around this particular one calls for caution and moderation.

“The constitution of any panel to sit on a matter in the court is the sole prerogative of the Supreme Court and it is never an issue for the court to debate on the television or pages of newspapers.”

Assuring the nation of its neutrality, the apex court said; “We are not a political party or social club and should never be dragged into any form of baseless pedestrian discussions that will drive valid reasoning aground. Enough of this orchestrated falsehood and campaign of calumny.

“We are here to serve the interest of the generality of the Nigerian masses and not a select individuals or groups with inordinate ambition.”

The statement further assured Nigerians that; “As soon as the presidential appeal panel is constituted, the public will be duly informed as Supreme Court is not a secret society. Let us always observe caution when disseminating information to the public.”

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