The Supreme Court on Monday blasted the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) for alleging that the Federal Government was mounting pressure on the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, to handpick a panel of justices that would hear the appeal against President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election at the apex court.
CUPP had in a statement last Thursday, claimed that it uncovered a subterranean plot by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to persuade the CJN to jettison the age-long tradition of the judiciary which ensures that only most senior Justices of the Supreme Court would be deployed to hear the appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal had last month validated President Buhari’s victory in the February 23 election.
The group further claimed that it intercepted a list of “handpicked” Justices that included some members of the tribunal that dismissed Atiku’s petition.
But the apex court in a statement titled: “CUPP And Its Campaign Of Calumny, ” and signed by its Director of Press and Information, Dr Akande Festus, blasted CUPP for engaging in “blatant falsehood, misinformation and malicious rumour.”
The statement read: “In the light of the blatant falsehood, misinformation and malicious rumour being generously peddled by the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) through its spokesman, Imo Ugochinyere, we wish to state clearly that the association is not and can never constitute itself into an agency of the Nigerian Judiciary or assume the role of an alternate Supreme Court of Nigeria.
“We have been watching rather cautiously the drama of the absurd being exhibited on daily basis by this association which sadly debases our collective morality and sense of decency as people from a civilized and well-cultured society like Nigeria.
“Sensitive issues like the presidential election appeal should not, in all honesty, be taken to the altar of frivolous drama and misguided oration that is displayed on the screen of our national television with reckless abandon by people who ought to be some sort of role model to the younger generation.
“It will be recalled that even weeks before the Presidential election appeal was filed at the Supreme Court, the CUPP had already, in its characteristic manner, constituted its own ‘panel’ for the Supreme Court and aggressively brandished the list on television and newspapers.
“Shortly afterwards, when the appeal was eventually filed at the court, the coalition came out once again with another imaginary list of panel members and followed it with yet another malicious allegation against the Chief Justice of Nigeria of ‘handpicking’ them in contrast to the ’tradition’ of selecting the most senior justices of the court.
“Let it be known that the Supreme Court is not an assemblage of individuals with no defined purpose, vision and modus operandi. Our operations are strictly guided by the Constitution and extant laws. We are not an appendage of any individual or group of people, and we don’t pander to the dictates of anybody or association.”