•APC accuses opposition party of attempt to intimidate apex court
By Chuks Okocha and Adedayo Akinwale
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday vehemently insisted that the Supreme Court has no option than to dismiss the pending application by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to review its judgment on the Zamfara governorship election matter.
But in a swift reaction, the APC accused the main opposition party of an attempt to intimidate the Supreme Court over its decision to review its judgment on the Zamfara State.
PDP said that if anything contrary happens in the Zamfara State governorship election, it may force it to once again ask for a review of already decided Supreme Court cases.
Its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, stated this as the position of the party after a crucial meeting with critical stakeholders from Zamfara State, in Abuja on Saturday.
Ologbondiyan said the PDP stands by its earlier statement in which it raised the alarm that the APC was behind the agitation that the Supreme Court should reverse its judgment on the Zamfara State governorship election matter.
He asserted that the APC’s ploy is to arm-twist the apex court to review the case contrary to the already affirmed finality of the Supreme Court judgments as firmly established in the court’s judgment on Imo and Bayelsa states election matters.
It said: “The PDP is aware of the efforts being made by agents of the APC to blackmail and arm-twist the Supreme Court to commit a judicial summersault and give them judgment through the back door.
“But our party, the generality of Nigerians and in fact the justices of the Supreme Court know that the court has no option before it than to dismiss the application. This is because the Supreme Court had consistently decided on the finality of judgments reached by the court, which it reaffirmed in its judgments on the Bayelsa and Imo states governorship elections, where the apex court dismissed the applications for review on the ground that it lacked jurisdiction to review its own judgment.
“So the inevitable fate of the APC application on Zamfara is to be dismissed. It cannot have any life before the Supreme Court. That is why the Supreme Court had no business in the first place reserving judgment on the matter. In fact, all issues bothering on review were never reserved for judgment but dismissed because of the Supreme Court’s belief in the finality and infallibility of its own judgment.”
But the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, in a statement issued yesterday said that PDP has unfortunately come to be known for deploying blackmail and intimidation of state institutions as a strategy to circumvent or derail processes and procedures that are at variance with any of its inordinate interests.
He added that unfortunately, the PDP has failed woefully on the Zamfara matter, while reiterating that PDP is not a party to its intra-party matter before the Supreme Court.
Issa-Onilu stated: “The PDP’s declaration that the Supreme Court has no option than to dismiss the pending application by the APC to review its judgment on the Zamfara State governorship election matter amounts to yet another effort by the opposition party to intimidate the apex court.
“This is criminal and irresponsible for a party that had once run the country for an uninterrupted period of 16 years. Being voted out of power for maladministration should not make the PDP seek to bring the country down by taking actions or making statements that are targeted at undermining a critical state institution like the judiciary.”
The party spokesperson said that there is a world of difference between the Supreme Court review sought on the Zamfara matter and the matters that the Supreme Court dismissed regarding Imo and Bayelsa states.
Issa-Onilu added that unlike what happened in Bayelsa and Imo, in Zamfara, the Supreme Court is not being requested to review its decision but noted that the unique thing about Zamfara’s case at the Supreme Court was that the APC is not attacking the judgment of their lordships but only praying that they vary their consequential order for the purpose of justice.
Issa-Onilu stressed that the PDP, despite not being a party in the matter, is scared as it found itself to have immensely benefitted from our intra-party squabbles, by reaping where it never sowed.
He said that the Supreme Court had earlier affirmed that it has the powers to review its own decisions and that it is not averse to correcting an error when that is noticed or when it is brought to its attention.
“We call on the Supreme Court to focus on dispensing justice in the case of Zamfara State as well as other matters before it and ignore the irresponsible ranting of the PDP,” the APC said.