Legal practitioners in the country under the umbrella of Lawyers in Defence of Democracy (LDD) have described the attack on Justice Mary Odili by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its supporters following the ruling on the Bayelsa governorship election, as “misplaced” and “unnecessary”.
The group in a statement jointly signed by its national Coordinator, Barr. Ohazuruike Tochukwu and Publicity Secretary, Ishaq Bello said it is concerned that supporters of the APC had deliberately singled out Justice Odili and attempted to malign her reputation, even though she “neither wrote nor read the lead judgment”.
The legal practitioners said APC members should ordinarily direct their grievances at the leadership of their Party which purportedly screened and cleared the said Deputy Governorship candidate of their Party.
“It is obvious that the leadership of the Party in order to deflect attention from its failures yet again, as it did in Zamfara and Rivers States, have instigated these supporters and other uninformed Nigerians to begin to defame an eminent jurist of the Supreme Court
“How these APC members and their leadership quickly forgot that the same Justice Mary Odili was still married to a PDP stalwart when she read the lead judgment in the Katsina, Kaduna, Lagos and Nasarawa Governorship appeals all won by the APC. If Justice Odili is as compromised as they would now want Nigerians to believe, how then did the APC win all the appeals where she wrote and read the lead judgment?” The group queried.
The group said while anyone is at liberty to respectfully disagree with the judgment of any Court, it however argued that there are legal ways of doing that and it does not include maligning a justice of the Supreme Court, making speculative allegations against the justice or putting the marital status of the justice in issue just because a case did not go the way of a particular interest.
The statement reads further, “Everyone is therefore advised to exercise restraint as the wheel of justice is still grinding and will surely exhaust all avenues. The violence in Bayelsa must also stop and security agencies should ensure the protection of lives and property of citizens. Politicians of both the APC and PDP are also enjoined to take their politics away from the judiciary including attempts to blackmail, malign or compromise our judiciary.
“We urge their our noble Lordships to continue to be fearless in dispensation of justice and develop thick skin as this is the unfortunate occupational hazard they may have to contend with in this clime. Their family members and all well-meaning Nigerians should also not lose sleep because of these insinuations as they are baseless, speculative and part of the shenanigans of politicians.”