But for an independent judiciary, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Adams Oshiomhole, would not have been governor of Edo State for eight years, former Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi has said.
Obi said himself and Oshiomhole were able to reclaim their stolen mandate from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra and Edo states because the judiciary under the then PDP Presidency was neutral.
The PDP had denied Oshiomhole his governorship victory in Edo state in 2007, while Obi’s was stolen by the PDP in 2003, but their mandate was eventually restored by the Supreme Court. Oshiomhole was then in the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) while Obi was in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
Addressing a protest rally organised by the PDP in Abuja on Monday, Obi said himself and Oshiomhole would not have recovered their mandate if the Supreme Court at the time had been tele guided by the Executive arm, “as it’s being witnessed today under the present APC administration”.
The PDP had staged the protest against the apex court’s January 14 judgement which voided the election of Mr Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP as governor of Imo state and affirmed Senator Hope Uzodinma of the APC as replacement.
Describing the apex court’s judgment in the Imo case as injustice, Obi charged the APC administration to emulate the politics of magnanimity displayed by the PDP during its 16 years rein. He cautioned the APC against derailing the democratic process.
Obi said, “I am speaking here, not just as a leader of the PDP, but one of the beneficiaries of the PDP’s 16 years government of doing what is right.
“I was in a minority party, I won election and PDP did not intervene. I went to court, PDP did not intervene. I benefited from it.
“Adams Oshiomhole wouldn’t have been governor, he wouldn’t have been a beneficiary of the judiciary if the PDP did what APC is doing today. He benefited from it.
“So as a beneficiary, I am appealing to the judiciary to save this country. What happened in Imo State is enough to kill our democracy. Let us ensure that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man. My appeal to APC, is, please, do not kill this democracy”.
The National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, who also spoke at the protest rally, asked the justices of the Supreme Court to be magnanimous enough to accept the fact that they committed an error and should be ready to correct the error.
The party chairman advised the Executive arm of government to stop interfering in the judicial process as well as to stop interfering in official engagements of security agencies and the electoral body.
Secondus said, “We are a nation governed by law, therefore, all we are seeking today is for our very highly respected jurists at the highest court of the land to review the Imo judgment. We are not against you, we are against the error. And by the special grace of God, I know you will revisit the error.
“All we are saying is that for you to review this error because the figures are not adding up. We, therefore, call on the leadership of the judiciary, to please, we are all human. God is the highest.
“They should revisit and reverse the Imo judgement because we believe that the figures are not adding up. That is why we are here so that the world will hear us. We are a democratic nation, and therefore, all democratic nations of the world are hearing us – the United States, United Kingdom, even the United Nations, the African Union and ECOWAS.
“We believe that people at the highest court of the land will hear our cry today, and revisit, review, and if possible, reverse, the judgement. That is justice that will be done, not only to the people of Imo State but for Nigerians who are crying. This is time to show courage”.
Secondus commended party members for comporting themselves during the protest and ensuring that it was peaceful.
“The PDP is the most peaceful party, and the largest party and well organised party in Africa. I want to congratulate you all for coming from all the nooks and crannies of this country, peacefully to register our protest”, the chairman said.
A number of the party’s National Assembly members, former governors, and former federal legislators also participated in the protest.
There was however a mild drama during the protest when one of the open trucks conveying some of the protesters was said to have skipped off the road and fell on its side.
A few persons were said to have been injured in the accident, which the organisers described as a minor incidence.