Justice Muhammad Tukur, Chairman of panel 1 of the National and state assembly election petitions in Jos, Plateau State, has spoken on a social media attack.
Tukur’s panel, which comprises Justices Omaka Elekwa and O . Adetujeye, handled all the petitions filed against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) legislative candidates in the 2023 elections and ruled in favour of opposition parties which came second at the polls.
Opponents of PDP candidates had said the party was not qualified to sponsor candidates for an election because it lacked structure following previous courts judgements that annulled PDP’s ward congresses.
The PDP candidates had rejected the verdicts and filed appeals. Some Nigerians also accused the judges of being unfair.
Responding to the rumours that the Panel was induced to rule against the PDP, the judge said none of them was bought over to favour anyone.
“We have been seeing everything that is said about us. I did not want to talk, but since my learned brother has talked on the issue, I will also comment.
“They pasted my judgement of 2021 by-election in Kaduna, alongside the judgement of election tribunal in Plateau. It was shared all over the social media, just to mock me, not knowing that in Kaduna, we used the 2010 electoral act, while that of Plateau we used the 2022 electoral act. Each case has a different backgrounds. We shall see the end of all.”
Daily Trust reports that all petitions filed before justice Tukur led panel on the ground that PDP doesn’t has structure were ruled against the party, a position that the PDP often disagree with.
On her part, Justice Adetujeye expressed worry over insinuations of manipulation against the panel, accusing lawyers of sometimes being unfair to their clients regarding what obtains in the court.
“We have been hearing all that have been said outside. Some people will even molest you. We are doing our best. All is about conscience. We are guided by our conscience. We treated each case based on the facts before us. They said we have been bought over, but those that bought you today, will they trust you tomorrow?” she asked.
According to her, God was keeping watch of every actions they took, and they shall be asked to give account in the end.
Justice Elekwa, also a member of the panel on her part, frowned at the attitude of some lawyers who “often mislead their clients”, urging them to always tell their clients what transpired during the proceedings of the tribunal.
She said “Always tell your clients the truth. Tell them what really happened at the tribunal and not what they hear from others or read on the social media.”