Former All Progressives Congress (APC) Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Timi Frank, has urged the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Tanko Muhammad, to stop unnecessary delay in constituting a Supreme Court panel to determine Atiku Abubakar’s case challenging the Presidential Tribunal ruling in favour of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Frank, in a statement he personally signed and made available to newsmen in Abuja, demanded that the CJN should constitute the panel based on the tradition of seniority and not “consulting or waiting on the advice of the presidency.”
The political activist further argued that it amounts to injustice for the CJN to delay the constitution of the seven-man panel more than a month after the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) appealed the presidential tribunal’s judgement.
“We were reliably informed of an unholy alliance between the CJN and the presidency which is causing the delay in constitution of the panel; such a move is dangerous for Nigeria’s democracy.
“The CJN must respect the normal tradition of following the order of seniority in selecting the justices. Even all the times, Bubari himself had approached the Supreme Court in the past; order of seniority was followed. The precedent is set contrary to the ongoing shopping for judges who will be favourable to the whims and caprices of President Buhari and the APC.
“If anything goes contrary to the tradition of the order of seniority which we all know is allowed to happen, that will confirm that the CJN has bowed to the pressure from the presidency and that will also confirm the allegation made earlier by the CUPP.
“It is obvious that the judiciary under the current administration seems to have been caged but it is high time our judiciary showed courage. The whole world witnessed the courage shown by the Supreme Court in the United Kingdom recently.
“Even in Africa, Kenya’s Supreme Court has also proved to be independent when it recently nullified presidential election of a sitting president; Nigeria’s judiciary must prove its worth in this case.
“A situation where the CJN has to consult the presidency or the AGF before a panel is constituted does not show an independent judiciary,” Frank noted in the statement.
Calling the attention of the international community on the matter, the Bayelsa- born activist warned that in a democratic system, once justice is not seen to be given, anarchy and chaos will be the order of the day.
Frank also called on the former CJNs to call Justice Tanko to order, to avoid playing politics but adhere to precedents laid by them.
“Nigeria is greater and more important than General Buhari and his cabal. I, therefore, call on the good people of Nigeria, the African Union (AU) and the international community to ensure that the independence of the judiciary remains sacrosanct and inalienable, and compel Justice Tanko to do the right thing,” Frank said in the statement.