Discreet investigations by SaharaReporters have revealed top-level clandestine moves to compromise the judicial arm of the government with respect to the multitude of pre-election matters arising from the turbulent primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the various stages of the federation.
Disillusioned with President Muhammadu Buhari’s democratic stance of insisting on the rights of the aggrieved aspirants to turn to the law courts, the leadership of APC, under a well-scripted arrangement to bribe the judicial officers handling the cases, has recruited the services of some notable retired judges and the current Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdu Kafarati, to prevail on the various judges of the Federal High Court to dismiss the pre-election cases pending against the party.
While it is glaring that in most states of the Federation, the APC did not conduct free and fair primaries — anointed candidates of the party leaders were merely imposed — and having seen the judicial handwriting on the wall as shown in Zamfara, Rivers and, lately, Kwara states, the leadership of the party under the financial muscle of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has deployed all resources to compromise the outcomes of the remaining cases yet to be decided.
A disturbing reference is the decision of Justice B M Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja, of December 21 in Suit No. FHC/ ABJ/CS/1167/2018 - Atinuke Balogun v. APC & INEC in which the judge delivered a most intriguing judgment striking out a case due to non-joinder of necessary parties and commencement of the suit by way of originating summons when facts were in dispute.
Rather than directing the plaintiff to file a Writ of Summons and join necessary parties, the judge struck out the suit knowing full well that by the Fourth Alteration to the Constitution, the plaintiff could no longer re-commence the action as it would be statute-barred. The judge must equally have been aware that by the time the matter travels to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, the 180 days allotted for the determination of every pre-election matter by the Fourth Alteration to the Constitution would have expired and no court can grant an extension of time in such a case as judicial precedents have shown in cases such as Steve Ugba v. Gabriel Suswam in 2012.
The fate of the plaintiff, in that case, is sealed by the judicial misdemeanour of Justice Nyako, who is the wife of Murtala Nyako, the former Governor of Adamawa State and a best friend of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. It is on record that while the election petition of the then Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN) was being prosecuted against Nyako in 2012, Tinubu played a dirty anti-party role in securing judgment for Nyako to spite Boni Haruna and others who disagreed with his choice of politics in the party. It is obvious that by the recent decision of the court, it is payback time from the Nyakos to the Tinubus.
Right now, huge cash is in circulation at the Federal High Court for the purchase of the consciences of the men in black robes. What happens to the fates of the cheated aspirants of APC would be seen very soon as the conscience of the judiciary seems to have been purchased.