By Ameh Ejekwonyilo
A group under the aegis of , Nigeria Integrity Movement has petitioned the National Judicial Council (NJC), and the Acting President, Court of Appeal, Justice Monica B. Dongban-Mensem, over alleged plan by some judges to subvert the composition of Kogi State Election Petition Appeal Panel.
According to the National Coordinator of the Movement, Mr. Kayode Esan, who levied the allegation yesterday in Abuja, called for transparency in the composition of the appeal panel on the part of NJC, which is chaired by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mohammad Tanko Ibrahim and the leadership of the Appeal Court.
The Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal on Saturday, May 23, had delivered its two to three split decision in favour of Governor Yahaya Bello in the November 16, 2019 governorship election in the state.
Consequently, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the election, Engineer Musa Wada, not satisfied with the decision of the Tribunal, vowed to appeal against the verdict.
Esan in the petition dated May 28, stated that having followed the degree of alleged violence and intimidation that characterized the 2019 governorship election in Kogi State and its aftermath, “the group hereby appeals to the leadership of the Court of Appeal to exercise due diligence, transparency and sense of justice in constituting members of the Appeal Panel that will adjudicate on the case.
“This call has become imperative as a result of the various dangerous drama and travesty of justice in the Kogi State election petitions thus far culminating in the recent judgement of the tribunal that did not go down well with many keen observers of Nigeria’s justice system.
“The Acting President, Court of Appeal, Justice Dongban-Mensem is known for her unquestionable integrity and as we have always told Nigerians, the world is waiting to see the composition and decisions of the Appeal Panel as the aggrieved parties seek judicial redress.”
“The civil society group wishes to reiterate that it is privy to the surreptitious moves by some persons to undermine and subvert justice in favour of certain party to the case.
“In this wise, we express our disappointment in strongest terms against the decisions of Justice Kashim Kaigama and his colleague that sacrificed justice on the alter of personal interests at the Kogi State Election Tribunal”, Esan stated.
NIM in the petition, also demanded investigation into the alleged extra-judicial murder of innocent citizens during the November 2019 gubernatorial election in Kogi State.