The Abia State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the five-man panel of the Courtof Appeal appointed to hear the appeal against its candidate, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, by the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Dr. Alex Otti.
In a petition dated December 18, and signed by its chairman, Senator Emma Nwaka, the party said it does not have confidence in the current panel and called on the President of the Court, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, to urgently disband it and constitute a new one.
The petition read in part: “The PDP in Abia State considers it curious and objectionable that out of the five justices chosen to hear the Abia State gubernatorial appeal, four are from the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal – a city where Dr. Alex Otti has lived and done business all through his life and equally maintains a very close relationship with the presiding judge of that division.
“The state of affairs above, further explains the jubilation in the camp of Dr. Alex Otti in the last couple of days following the announcement of the names of members of the panel.”
The party insisted that the tradition of the Court of Appeal had always been that of assembling justices from the various Divisions of the Court of Appeal, adding that “we are therefore taken aback as to why out of 16 divisions of the Court of Appeal, four of the justices will come from a particular division of the Court of Appeal.
“In a nutshell, our party and its members in Abia State have no confidence in the present panel as constituted to deliver justice without fear or favour.
“Justice must be rooted in confidence. No sane litigant would want his appeal determined by a panel which cannot be trusted to hold the scales of justice like the goddess of Justice. No litigant can be confident to entrust the adjudication of a sensitive matter like a gubernatorial election appeal, in the hands of justices whose appointments have been foretold by the appellant”, the party stated.
The justices on the 5-man panel are Chinwe Iyizoba, Oyebisi Omoleye, Samuel Oseji, Jamilu Tukur and Tijani Abubakar.