Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, has asked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) not to include President Muhammadu Buhari in its “campaign of character assassination” against Zainab Bulkachuwa, president of the court of appeal.
The PDP had asked Bulkachuwa to withdraw from the five-member panel of the presidential election petitions tribunal, saying she would likely be biased while handling the tribunal’s proceedings.
But in a statement on Saturday, Shehu said the PDP’s request was aimed at causing disaffection between the executive and the judiciary.
He said attacking judges when the cases don’t favour them and keeping quiet when it does reeks of double standard and mischief.
He noted that maligning judges in order to force them to bow to blackmail negates the spirit of the independent judiciary.
“While the PDP and its candidates are free to exercise their right to challenge the results of the 2019 presidential election, it is unacceptable to drag the name of the President or other organs of the executive branch into the campaign of character assassination against the President of the Court of Appeal,” the statement said.
“The DSS doesn’t conduct its duties in the manner so described and you can’t use a fake security report to drag the presidency into a smear campaign against the President of the Court of Appeal.
“Attacking judges because the outcomes of cases don’t favour you and keeping quiet when the verdict is in your favour smacks of insincerity, double standard and mischief.
“Intimidating and impugning the character of judges in order to force them to bow to blackmail is against the spirit of an independent judiciary.”
Shehu warned that if the major opposition party keeps blackmailing judges, the country might find itself in a situation where justice is delayed because the judges are afraid of handling cases.
“We cannot keep changing the definition of an independent judiciary to suit our political convenience and bias without ultimately creating chaos in the system,” he said.
“If the PDP continues to blackmail and smear judges with fake news stories, we will ultimately find ourselves dealing with a situation where judges may be afraid to handle cases, thereby creating delays in the dispensation of justice.”
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