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Sunday, December 23, 2018

Federal High Court Judges Playing APC Cards?

Rahman Barkindo

Discreet investigations have revealed top level clandestine moves to
compromise the judicial arm of the government with respect to multitudes of pre-election matters arising from the last turbulent primaries of the ruling party, All Progressives Congress(APC), from the various stages of the Federation. 

Disillusioned with the democratic stance of the President insisting on the rights of the aggrieved aspirants to ventilate their grievances in the law courts, the leadership of APC under a well- scripted arrangement to bribe the judicial officers handling the cases, are alleged to have 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 Courts to dismiss the pre-election cases pending against the party. 

While it is glaring that in most states of the Federation the All Progressives Congress(APC) did not conduct free and fair primaries and annointed 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 muscles of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, is alleged to have 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, delivered on December 21, 2018 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 are in dispute. Rather than directing the plaintiff to file a Writ of Summons and join necessary parties, the judge rather struck out the suit knowing full well that by the Fourth Alteration to the Constitution, the plaintiff can no longer re-commence the action as same would be statute barred. 
The judge must equally be 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 like 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 Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) was being prosecuted against Nyako in 2012, Tinubu is alleged to have  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 monitored by some members of civil society in court on December 21, it is pay back time from the Nyakos to the Tinubus.

Right now, huge cash is alleged to be 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.  In all, what happens to the general populace whose last resort is the hallowed chambers, is a tragedy yet to be explained.

Rahman Barkindo 
 Secretary*, *Campaign Against Corruption In The Judiciary (CACIJ)

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