The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has alleged that some of the judges on the panel to hear the petition of Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), are working for President Muhammadu Buhari.
In a statement by Ikenga Ugochinyere, its spokesman, the coalition said it had seen the names of those on the five-man panel. Ugochinyere listed them as Zainab Adamu-Bulkachuwa, president of the court of appeal; Abdul Aboki; Peter Ige; J. S. Ikyegh and S. C. Oseji.
He said authorities at Aso Rock endorsed the list which will soon be made public.
“The approved list which was intercepted by our credible insider informant during conveyance from the Villa back to the Court of Appeal was drawn from a list of eight justices submitted to the Villa for approval,” he said.
“Nigerians will recall that we had earlier raised alarm over the donation of a Senatorial ticket to the husband of the President of the Court of Appeal by the APC. We had questioned the rationale behind such donation when he did not participate in the Primaries if not to secure the assurance of his wife, the President of the Court, to constitute with the approval of the Presidency the Panel that will hear any petition challenging the outcome of the elections.
“It was also a failure to secure similar assurances from the Chief Justice of the Federation that led to the onslaught on him by the Federal Government as the Honourable Chief Justice had insisted on doing only justice and nothing else.
“The list is drafted in such a way that without any matter properly being before the Justices, the Panel has been rigged and skewed with three of the Justices on the list having been approached and commitments secured from them that no matter the evidence put before them, they were going to rule in favour of the President.
“They are now agents and officers of the President and not officers in the temple of justice.
Ugochinyere asked Bulkachuwa, Aboki and Ige to recuse themselves from the panel.
“It is based on the foregoing and the evidence in the custody of the CUPP that we immediately, categorically and unambiguously demand that Justices Zaibab Bulkachuwa, Justice Aboki and Justice Peter Ige recuse themselves from the Panel,” he said.
“The intelligence at our disposal which formed basis for all the views canvassed in this statement is that these three Justices have already given their commitment to the Presidency that they will rule in favour of the President at the Tribunal hence they cannot dispense justice.
“The President has annexed the judiciary and the hope of the common man is blighted. Nigerians must rise in defence of the judiciary and insist that justice must be done in this circumstance.”