Speaking to newsmen yesterday the National Legal Adviser of the PDP Chief Olusola Oke decried the attitude of the opposition ACN in the face off between Justices Katsina-Alu and Salami describing the pronouncements of the ACN as “cheap blackmail which cannot be substantiated”, adding that as a party, it never accused the former President of the Court of Appeal of any wrong doing.
According to Oke, the passionate way in which the ACN has taken the issue was suggestive that it had a special interest that smacks much like political undertone.
“Emotion being displayed by the ACN over this matter, gives the impression that there is something that meets the ordinary eye. The matter is already in the court and this is an internal affair of the judiciary but the hue and cry and emotions from the ACN is worrisome.
“The matter should be allowed to be settled through the judicial due process, but the ACN is weeping more the bereaved in this case”,
Oke who noted that the PDP in the Southwest had accused Justice Ayo Salami of partisanship in the tribunal judgments concerning Ekiti and Osun state, said, “the National Secretariat of the PDP has not accused Justice Salami of any wrong doing, but the southwest zone of the PDP has consistently accused him of partisanship in the handling of tribunal judgments.
“Some measure of allegations of partiality has been raised by the Southwest zone of the party against Justice Salami, but we in the national secretariat have not done so. Why is the ACN weeping more than the bereaved.”
However, the ACN in a sharp riposte to the assertion accused Chief Oke of falling short of its expectations as the legal adviser saying that it pitied the country with the manner of legal advise being rendered to the ruling party and the Federal Government.
The National Publicity Secretary of the ACN, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in his reaction to the assertions of Chief Oke said:
“The bereaved in this case is the Nigerian judiciary and as Nigerians also, I think our party as the second biggest political party I think we have a big stake in the rule of law and in the judiciary. It is clear that the only reason that the PDP is saying this is because it is actually a PDP-Jonathan plot using some of their hirelings within the NJC.”
“Is the NBA also ACN? Is NBA also crying more than the bereaved? For their information, we have not started crying, they will hear more from us and we are happy that the whole Nigeria supports us.”
Querying why the PDP as a party was keeping mute in the face of what it claimed as the violation of the rule of law, Mohammed said:
“ So, why is the PDP not adding its support to the NBA. All we are talking about is the illegality being committed. We are not talking about the merit or demerits of this case, we are saying due process should be followed, but because they thrive in illegality and because it is their plot, that is why they are accusing all well meaning Nigerians that they are crying more than the bereaved and we in Nigeria are major stakeholders and nobody can accuse us of crying more than bereaved and moreover we are the voice of the oppressed, so nobody can say we are crying more than the bereaved.”
Expressing dissatisfaction with the legal advise the PDP was receiving, Mohammed said:
“We are surprised and shocked that a lawyer will condone an illegality, we presume that as a lawyer of longstanding he cannot see illegality and the rule of law being trampled upon, then this country is in trouble.”
CODER on its part also yesterday lamented the face off in the judiciary which it claimed was aimed at stripping Justice Salami of his position.
CODER in a statement signed by the Director of Research, Planning and Strategy, Segun Bada, the body said, “the NJC explanation for the suspension of Hon. Justice Ayo Salami is not only inchoate but ultra-vires. As a matter of fact, it is a general adage that “You don’t shave someone’s head without his physical presence.”
“Justice Ayo Salami ought to have been given fair hearing, which supposedly ought to have been one of the cardinal principles of natural Justice. If a man of that caliber is denied the opportunity to defend himself, what can we say for a common man?”
“The whole episode appears like an Orchestrated plan to get rid of the President of the Court of Appeal (PCA) in the person of the Hon. Justice Ayo Salami, for no just cause”, explaining that his removal was a cover up over the Chief Justice of Nigeria intervention in the Sokoto state governorship election.”
The group however urged President Goodluck Jonathan “whose seeming adherence to the rule of law has received commendation in-spite of pressures from enemies of democracy to let the case in court be decided, as that would save the Judiciary from what it termed further embarrassment.
Accordingly, CODER said, “The action of Mr. President must not be seen as been biased to one of the parties in dispute, given the haste with which Mr. President approved the appointment of an acting PCA. The President must be seen to maintain his impartiality to all parties with dispute in the election tribunals.”