The All Progressives Congress (APC) has warned the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) government in Kano state against dragging the name of the chairman of the National and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal, Hon. Justice Flora Ngozi Azinge to disrepute because of its apparent dismal defense performance at the tribunal.
The APC said the deliberate attempt by the Abba Yusuf-led administration in the North West state to malign the tribunal chairman for fear of what could be possibly the final judgment, by creating a fictitious story and quoting her out of context, amounts to disrespect for the judge and the judiciary in general.
Tribune Online checks revealed that Justice Azinge had on Tuesday accused some senior lawyers arguing their petitions before the tribunal of unwholesome moves to corrupt the system.
The Tribunal judge who was silent on the identity of the alleged culprit revealed how a senior member of the bar offered one of her staff a sum of N10 million in bribes for onward delivery to the panel.
The Chairman who is presently hearing matters cutting across all the political parties, however, warned that she would no longer take any attempt to bribe judges, saying that attempts to pervert the cause of justice through the back door is not tenable in her court.
A statement issued to newsmen in Abuja by the immediate past commissioner for Information and Internal Affairs and spokesperson for Gawuna/Gari Campaign Council, Malam Muhammad Garba however absolved the APC.
He stated that when Honourable Justice Azinge made the revelation on the alleged attempt to bribe a member of the tribunal by a senior lawyer, she never named any particular party, but just to denigrate the APC, the NNPP government referred to the APC as the bribe giver.
He noted further that the Kano state government is also preempting the possible unraveling of the actual bribe giver by the tribunal and therefore wanted to malign the judge.
Garba also said that the made-up story, which is contained in a statement issued by the state commissioner for Information, Baba Halilu Dantiye, further indicated that the government is trying to vilify the tribunal before the judgment so that it draws sympathy from the unsuspecting public in the event it is defeated.
Maintaining his stance that the Kano government is confused, the former commissioner recalled an appeal filed by the Kano state government while the tribunal is still holding its proceedings.
He declared that their action will not stop the election petition tribunal from going on with its sittings until it delivers a final judgement.
He stated that even with an apparent sign of victory on its side, the APC has not and will never offer any bribe to anyone involved in the case considering that it has presented facts and figures to prosecute the matter before the tribunal.
Garba observed that while the APC had presented all its witnesses during the proceedings of the tribunal who have been successfully cross-examined, the NNPP government, he added, has failed to present any tangible witness to depend on its case.
The former commissioner averred that the action of the Kano state government was nothing but gimmickry and an attempt to also disparage the APC.
While reaffirming its commitment to patiently continue seeking legal redress in the case, the APC, he said, is confident it will eventually reclaim its stolen mandate.
Credit: Nigerian Tribune except headline