The former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives Hon. Idris Maje Wase stated that Demonizing Judges Is Undermining Our Democracy in his he stated that, I have read the unfortunate outburst by my respected colleague and Minority Leader of the House and must express my utter disappointment at the unguarded and unmeasured emotional outburst that was absolutely devoid of the real facts of the matter.
Such outbursts were not only unguarded but capable of undermining our democracy by inciting the public against an important arm of the government, the judiciary. We know that we as legislators, make laws while the judiciary interprets them. That is the role given to judges by the Constitution, and this is sacrosanct.
Must PDP always have its way? When the courts annulled the victories of the APC in Zamfara and the PDP benefitted, the judiciary was the messiah.
When the judiciary annulled the victory of the APC in Bayelsa when the popularly elected Governor-elect was rehearsing for his swearing-in, and PDP was the beneficiary, the judiciary was the messiah.
Today, the same Judiciary that is only doing its work of interpreting the law is being condemned, ironically and sadly by the same PDP which has been the beneficiary of the Judgements that handed over Governments to them when they did not win at the polls. These double standards are sickening and condemnable.
Unfortunately, the PDP wants to use sentiments in matters of law. Should our judges use sentiments in their work? For the record, the Plateau situation is a case of self-inflicted injuries caused by the intra-party crisis of the PDP and their arrogant refusal to obey court orders since 2020.
It did not start now. Instead of Hon. Chinda seeking clarification and understanding how Plateau’s case is different from all the other stare decisis he was referring to, he may have allowed emotional considerations to pull the wool across his eyes.
Where was Hon. Kinsley Chinda when the courts affirmed the exclusion of the PDP from participating in local government elections in 2021? Note that the PDP was lost to the Supreme Court.
Was Hon. Chinda not in this House in 2022 when Hon. Musa Aga, who was elected to represent Jos North/Bassa in this same House of Representatives, was sacked from this House by the tribunal and House of Representatives because the court held that the PDP has no structure on account of disobedience to court orders?
Why crucify the appeal court when the PDP has blatantly refused to do the simple thing of organising congresses in order to have structures?
Also for the records, there are, as of date, 22 valid and binding judgments of the court of appeal in respect of the PDP in Plateau State from 2022 to 2023.
All the judgements are to the effect that the Plateau situation is one of the PDP lacking legal presence in Plateau state so they cannot sponsor any candidates for any election.
There is no inconsistency. Many uninformed commentators, including Hon. Chinda, have never read the judgments, which are lucid and explain the fact that the petitions that were filed were post-election matters in line with Section 134 of the Electoral Act, 2022.
Hon Kinsley is a lawyer and knows that Section 134 gives locus standi to any candidate and party that participated in an election to challenge the qualification of any candidate. This is elementary.
That section is in line with section 65(2) b of the Constitution which provides that a candidate to qualify to contest to the National Assembly must be sponsored by a political party.
Therefore, where the courts have ruled, as in Plateau, that the PDP lacks a structure, it means the PDP cannot sponsor any candidate. That is the simple issue, and it is based on the judgment of the Plateau High Court since 2020 for PDP to comply with Section 223(1) of the Constitution, which mandates all parties to conduct periodic elections to have democratically elected executives.
The Court of Appeal in Alkali v. INEC recently held that PDP candidates are like independent candidates without party sponsorship.
The example of Justice Iheme’s judgment in Borno given by Hon. Chinda is wrong, irrelevant, and not similar to the cases in Plateau State. In Borno, the cases were pre-election matters because they were based on nominations arising from party primaries.
In Plateau state, no one is challenging the primaries of the PDP. It is their lack of qualification based on competent orders of court that the PDP does not have any structure or legal capacity to sponsor any candidate that distinguishes Plateau’s cases from any other one.
Let Hon. Kinsley Chinda read the judgements and he will see where the Supreme Court has decided severally that issues of qualification are both pre and post-election depending on the facts of the case. The facts make those of Plateau post-election matters.
It is sad that people who have never read the judgements or attended any of the court sittings will be exposing their ignorance and whipping up sentiments just to denigrate our hard-working judges who are rightly dispensing Justice.
These tactics are in reality legislative intimidation and in fact, media terrorism to bully the judiciary into submitting to the will of the PDP who are sore losers. This should be resisted. Let us allow our judges to do their work and allow peace to reign.
Finally, we call upon the NBA to look into the breach of professional ethics by Hon. Chinda and other lawyers who have been disrespecting and insulting judges. Let us state that calling upon the NJC is also irrelevant. The NJC has no role in the matter as judges cannot be punished for doing their work .
PDP has written several petitions to the NJC. Should they not wait for NJC to investigate and come out with their reports or do they also want to stampede and intimidate the NJC?
In fact, there is a threat to national security by what PDP is doing. We therefore call on the security agencies to rise to the occasion by investigating all those instigating the public against innocent judges. Our democracy must be protected at all cost.