• Commission restates readiness to defend democracy in petition cases
• Group urges caution over face-off between Kogi State judiciary, executive
Human rights activist and senator representing Kaduna Central District, Shehu Sani, has alleged conspiracy between Governor Nasir El-Rufai and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to pervert the course of justice at the elections petition tribunal.Sani accused INEC of engaging the governor’s personal lawyer, A.U. Mustapha (SAN), to defend the commission at the elections petition tribunal in the case between him and the governor’s political adviser, Malam Uba Sani, who was declared by INEC as winner of the senatorial ticket.
The human rights activist, while addressing journalists yesterday on a petition dated April 12, 2019 and signed by his lawyer, Avong Emmanuel Didam, to the tribunal titled: “The exposure of ground conspiracy against Senator Shehu Sani by INEC and the Government of Kaduna State,” said: “We have documents to demonstrate that our claims are true, and that the said lawyer is a personal lawyer to the governor.“Of all lawyers in the country, why must INEC hired El-Rufai’s lawyer in a case that involved one of his aides.”
The senator said that despite the intimidation, he would never relent and remain silent in the struggle to get justice and reclaim his stolen mandate.“I will not remain silent when I discovered that INEC and El-Rufai are planning to further suppress the will of the people,” he said.
Meanwhile, the INEC has said that Nigerians should have confidence in the commission’s readiness to defend democracy by ensuring that justice is not subverted in the elections petition cases before the tribunals.
The electoral body said this while reacting to the protest letter and press conference by Sani who accused it of conspiracy to deny him justice in his election petition suit before the tribunal in Kaduna.In a statement signed and sent to The through e-mail by the commission’s National Commissioner, Chairman, Information and Public enlightenment, Festus Okoye, said: “INEC has a list of external solicitors it engages for the prosecution of pre and post-election matters.
“The commission is guided by the highest standard of ethics in recommending solicitors to represent it.The Governor of Kaduna State is not a respondent in the petition, and we have no reason to believe that the solicitor appointed by the commission will subvert the cause of justice.”
In another development, a group, Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello Movement, has called on the Kogi State judiciary and the Kogi State government to settle their differences amicably in the interest of the progress of the state.
Chairman of the group, Alhaji Ibrahim Raji and Secretary- General, Onusi Abdullateef, a press conference yesterday in Lokoja, said the two arms should come to a roundtable resolution in the interest of the suffering judicial workers, who had not been taking their salary for an upward of nine months on account of the rift.
The group noted that the joy in the whole crisis is the fact that Governor Yahaya Bello recently disclosed that the accumulated salary of the judiciary workers was intact.The movement, which commended the state government and the leadership of the judiciary for the maturity displayed so far, however, advised that there should be give and take in the true spirit of collective bargaining.