The Coalition for Justice in Africa, CJA, has decried judgements of the Court of Appeal which sacked several members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, from the National Assembly over pre-election matters.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, the Convener of the group, Daniel Okwa, described the action of the court as a rape on Nigeria’s democracy.
The group said since pre-election matters are decided before elections, there is no locus standi under the law for it to be used to form a judgement.
He said, “Ironically, this played out during the Appeal Court judgment that removed from office some members of the PDP in the National Assembly. It is indeed worrisome that the judgement of the justices of the Appeal Court was in contradiction of the position of the Supreme Court.”
Okwa said the coalition was at a loss as to “how and why an internal party affair should be in the interest of another party and on which basis a judgement was passed”. “It is disturbing and distressing that the revered justices of the Appeal Court would turn the law against its head,” he added.
He said the implication of the decision of the justices of the Appeal Court is that the judgement would set a dangerous precedent and a gateway to endless litigation in the future.
“The wisdom of dealing with pre-election matters before polls has now been undone, with the consequence that those who contested and won political office will now be spending the time they should have committed to delivering their mandate in court.
“The Coalition for Justice in Africa frowns on such a miscarriage of justice. It is our conviction that the internal affairs of a political party do not have anything to do with winning elections.
“This is a rape of democracy that tends to discredit the reputation of the judicial arm of government. The judgement is political and not on its merit. The assumption that the judiciary is the people’s hope has been grossly eroded.
“It is also evident that some powerful forces have taken control of the country’s judiciary. These vested interests would spare nothing in their insatiable desire to continue to rape democracy in Nigeria,” Okwa added.
Speaking further, he said, “It is an abracadabra that all well-meaning democrats in Nigeria should resist. Democracy is on the verge of annihilation with the disposition of the justices of the Appeal Court in the dispensation of justice.
“Where is the principle of a meddlesome interloper if APC will challenge the primaries of another party and succeed? This is dangerous for our democracy. The Supreme Court must address this evil decision in any future Appeal before it.”