Atiku, Buhari, CUPP, Supreme Court
Atiku Abubakar

By Joseph Erunke

THE Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP, Sunday, said it was worried over the delay by the Supreme Court to set up panel to hear appeal brought before it by former Vice President and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, in the 2019 presidential election against his opponent and candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), President Muhammadu Buhari.

This came as it threatened that it would “declare a total lack of confidence in any panel constituted in violation of the age-long order of seniority” of the apex court.

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The coalition, in a statement by its spokesman, Ikenga Ugochinyere, said it was concerned about the development, given that only 15 days was let to the deadline given by the constitution for judgment in such appeal.

“This development is very worrisome to the opposition political parties as critical stakeholders in the nation’s democracy,” it said.

CUPP added: “We can only, therefore, infer that this lingering delay in constituting the panel is capable of compromising the interest of opposition Coalition candidate, Atiku Abubakar, in view of the fact that we have information that the alleged pressure for the composition of a panel in order of convenience and in violation of the age-long order of seniority is still alive and if allowed to succeed will destroy public confidence on the Apex Court in view of the challenging environment we are operating in.”

The statement reads in full: “The Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP, is again raising concerns over the delay by the Supreme Court to constitute the presidential election appeal panel that will hear the appeal filed by the opposition candidate and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in February 23 presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s 15 days to the deadline given by the constitution for judgment in such appeal to be delivered or the case is dead.

“The Supreme Court has since about 16 days ago fully received all the filings on our appeal and by the provisions of the constitution, the Supreme Court has on or before 11th November 2019 which is 15 days from today to deliver judgment on the Appeal of Atiku challenging Buhari’s victory.

“We also wish to inform the Nigerian people that in furtherance to our belief in the rule of law and the Supreme Court, we have written the Supreme Court through our lawyers to remind them of the need to give us a date for the hearing of this all-important appeal of national importance that had the capacity to give our nation a competent leadership that they will be proud of.

“We approached the apex court for redress with the strong conviction that the court will right the wrongs; an expression of our deep commitment to the rule of law.

“But over 45 days after the tribunal delivered its verdict, the Supreme Court is yet to constitute the appeal panel. This development is very worrisome to the opposition political parties as critical stakeholders in the nation’s democracy.

“We can only, therefore, infer that this lingering delay in constituting the panel is capable of compromising the interest of opposition coalition candidate Atiku Abubakar in view of the fact that we have information that the alleged pressure for the composition of a panel in order of convenience and in violation of the age-long order of seniority is still alive and if allowed to succeed will destroy public confidence on the Apex Court in view of the challenging environment we are operating in.

“The CUPP, therefore, call on well-meaning Nigerians and lovers of democracy to prevail on the Supreme Court to do the needful on this matter before it is too late by ensuring that the integrity and public confidence in the apex court are not destroyed.

“We are also reiterating our earlier call on the apex court to resist any pressure aimed at forcing it to jettison the age-long practice of constituting the panel based on seniority.

“We insist that we shall declare a total lack of confidence in any panel constituted in violation of the age-long order of seniority.

“The apex court must be ready to be on the side of the people in saving this nation and its democracy.”

Vanguard

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