A political activist and former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, has called on the judges of the Presidential Election Petition Court to stand for honour as they prepare to give their verdict on the petition challenging the election of General Muhammadu Buhari.
The ruling will be announced on September 13.
Frank in a statement on Monday in Abuja also called on the Justices not to base their ruling on sentiments, frivolities or technicalities as the issue at stake would tremendously affect the peace, security and wellbeing of the country should they choose to rule myopically and selfishly.
He said that the Justices that heard the petition of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar against election of General Buhari of the APC cannot afford to fail Nigerians by ruling based on fear, intimidation and the overbearing influence of the executive, “they must strive to fearlessly and courageously contribute to the sustenance of the nation’s democracy, rule of law, good governance and the long term peace and prosperity of the country.
Frank said: “As the Presidential Election Petition Court’s Justices are putting finishing touches to their judgment, I want them to know that Nigerians and the whole world are eagerly watching.
“The entire world knows the truth and what transpired during the last presidential election in Nigeria. From this judgment, Nigerians and the international community will know if indeed our judiciary is independent or a lackey and puppet of the executive.
“These Justices should know that their judgment can make or mar Nigeria. Therefore let them focus on the substance of the issues already canvassed and the incontrovertible evidence tendered before them as they write their judgements.
“I know this is not going to be easy but the Justices must step up and stand by the truth and give the right judgment as Nigerians are already aware that the panel is planning to use technicalities like in the Osun election case to rule in favour of the APC and Buhari.
“Little wonder that the APC is already boasting that the judgment will be 4-1 in their favour. How did the APC know a judgment that is yet to be given? Is it because they have bought over the Justices of the Appeal Court now about to deliver their ruling?
“These Justices must realize that Nigerians and the international community are watching to see what kind of technicality they intend to use and also to see if they will put the national interest above the parochial interest of the APC and General Buhari.
“Nigerians are waiting to also see if they will succumb to the manifest and undue pressure being mounted against them by the agents of the executive irrespective of their sacred oath they have sworn to.”
He noted that the APC could not present any credible evidence to prove that Buhari has the mandatory constitutional requirement to contest the presidential election while Buhari‘s own witness confirmed that Buhari’s WAEC certificate is not with the military.
He called on the Justices to know that they are first and foremost Nigerians and that they have sworn to bear true allegiance to Nigeria and not to individuals no matter how highly placed.
He said: “The Justices should also bear in mind that whatever judgment they give would definitely affect them and their families in one way or the other – now and in the future.
“I have credible information that the Justices are under enormous pressure to sway the imminent judgment in favour of Buhari and the APC. They must resist this pressure as the future of Nigeria is at stake.
“The ball is the court of the Justices to do the right thing as Nigerians have done their bit by casting their votes for their preferred candidates during the presidential election.
“The Justices must rise up and use this opportunity to write their names in gold. Even though Nigerians see most of them as having been heavily compromised and manipulated by the APC and the presidency to get favourable judgments, I urge them to stand up for Nigerians and not for selfish individual.”
He added that the Justices cannot feign ignorance about the pitiable plight of Nigerians under General Buhari, saying “this is an opportunity to liberate Nigeria from the shackles of the APC.”
He called on the Justices to borrow a leaf from their Kenyan counterparts by delivering a judgment that is right and lawful rather than one based on sentiments or induced by fear.
The Bayelsa-born political activist said: “I pray that God gives the Justices the courage to deliver the right judgment as there is speculation that the judges have been compromised by the APC and Gen Buhari.
“I believe that the judges will shun the fraudulent influence of the APC and General Buhari and instead rule according to their conscience and their oath of office which is to do good to all manner of persons without affection or ill will.
“I believe that the current panel that heard the petition challenging the election of General Buhari is made up of men of high moral standing, integrity, credibility, honour and the fear of God who will uphold the principle of equity, fairness and justice in the ongoing case.
“I also believe that these Justices will not be cowed, intimidated or allow themselves to be compromised in any way to bring about a miscarriage of Justice as they prepare to deliver their verdict.
“I believe they are men of honour who will rule according to their consciences and the merits of the petition before them not minding whose horse is gored,” he said.