Intervene in Taraba Verdict, Group Urges Chief Justice

A non-governmental organisation, Taraba Mandate Group (TMG) has tasked the National Judicial Council (NJC) to wade into the Taraba State election petition tribunal which “arbitrarily” nullified the election of Governor Darius Ishaku of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The group at the weekend described the decision of the Election Petition Tribunal as a rape of democracy and a direct affront to the people of the state who voted for Ishaku.
The group in a statement signed by Gani Bako said: “As law abiding citizens of Nigeria, we are wondering why the National Judicial Council (NJC) has not found the courage to invite and prosecute the judges who almost truncated democracy at the Taraba governorship tribunal. The NJC has not deemed it fit to make a public pronouncement on the ongoing controversy.
“Is it that the NJC is satisfied with the outcome of the ruling in spite of the worldwide condemnation? Can the NJC say it has not received sufficient proof of judicial fraud from the tribunal?
Is the NJC impervious to all the cries from all over the world, especially from the good people of Taraba State over the ruling? Has the maxim “justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be manifestly done” lost its foothold in Nigeria?

“Purporting to wrest a state from a candidate who scored the highest number of votes and majority in 11 local governments, and giving it to a candidate who scored majority votes in only five local governments, stands justice on its head. Elections are won at the polling booths, not in the chambers of judges”, the statement noted.

Bako said it is strange that up till now, the NJC has remained aloof on this matter. “If a citizen of a governor’s status can petition this body to act and it has ignored the call, then something is wrong somewhere. Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti recently urged the NJC to prosecute the judges who brought much shame to the profession but mum has been the word from them. Is it that the NJC is endorsing what the funny tribunal did? Are they satisfied that the judges gave a good account of themselves?
“The NJC should know that all eyes are on it. And if they have any sense of history, the agency knows that it ought to live up to its name. Charity begins at home but it certainly does not end there. The NJC ought to have shown some interest in a verdict that has generated so much global condemnation.
“In view of all of these, it is therefore, curious that the NJC would not even acknowledge receipts of complaints from all around the world. And for an agency like that to play the ostrich at such a critical time is unfortunate to say the least”, the group added.
It called on the NJC to do the needful and help in restoring faith and hope, stating that its current standoffish policy is doing it no good, because of  its history, credibility and name  transcends centuries of  uncompromising judicial practice, should therefore stop this charade and felony because it has a name and reputation to protect.