2019: PDP woos Saraki, Kwankwaso, others


…Justice Ademola retires as FHC Judge***

The Board of Trustees of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on aggrieved members who left the party to follow the footsteps of former Vice President Abubakar Atiku “and return home.”

The Chairman of the board, Sen. Walid Jibrin, made the call while briefing journalists on Wednesday in Abuja.

He said “as the party joyfully welcomes Atiku back to his home PDP, we are equally waiting to receive more members.

“We are waiting for the President of the Senate, Sen. Bukola Saraki, Sen. Rabiu Kwankwaso, other senators, members of House of Representatives and APC governors who left the PDP.

“Let all of us unite and take back power from APC come 2019.”

Ahead of the December 9 PDP Convention, Jibrin urged aspirants to develop the spirit of sportsmanship.

He urged aspirants to accept the verdict of delegates, cooperate with the winners and remain loyal to the party as power comes from God.

Jibrin said the BoT had not anointed any contestant, saying the board was ready to work with whoever emerged victorious.

“I want to assure our party members that whoever emerges as National Chairman, the BoT is ready to cooperate and work with him or her for the progress of the party.

“I will like to reiterate our position that the BoT has not anointed any candidates for now,” he said.

He commended the Judiciary for saving Nigeria’s democracy by putting and end to the crisis in the party.

In the meantime, Justice Adeniyi Ademola who was among eight superior court judges that were arrested after a “sting operation” the Department of State Service, DSS, conducted in October last year, has voluntarily retired from the Federal High Court bench.

A source disclosed to Vanguard that the Judge tendered his resignation letter to the National Judicial Council late in the evening on Wednesday after he had presided over several cases, four of which were criminal matters.

He had earlier fixed today (Thursday) to deliver judgment in a terrorism charge the Federal Government entered against alleged Boko Haram members.

Although there was no detail as to his sudden decision to voluntarily bow out of the bench, the embattled judge was however quoted to have cited happenings in the judicial sector as the cardinal reason behind his action. His decision came a day after the NJC which is headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, met in Abuja.

The NJC which is expected to deliberate on its recent controversial recommendation for the elevation of 14 new Justices for the Court of Appeal, had adjourned to conclude its meeting today. It was however not clear if the case of Justice Ademola was discussed by the Council.

It will be recalled that the NJC earlier went before the Court of Appeal in Abuja to challenge an order restraining it from investigating corruption allegation against Justice Ademola. The Council, urged the appellate court to set-aside the restraining order that Justice Ademola secured against it on July 7.

The order was contained in a judgment that was delivered by Justice John Tsoho of the same high court where Ademola is currently serving. In its notice of appeal dated August 14, the legal body, argued that Justice Tsoho erred in law when he barred it from inviting Justice Ademola to answer to allegations contained in a petition that was lodged against him.

Justice Tsoho had in the said judgement, stopped NJC from investigating Ademola over the petition that was filed by one Hon. Jenkins Duvie Giane Gwede but subsequently withdrawn. The high court maintained that NJC could no longer open investigation into the matter or invite Ademola to prove his innocence to a petition that was voluntarily withdrawn by the petitioner since 2016.

However, NJC, in the appeal it filed alongside three members of its investigative panel- Justice Umar Abdullahi (retd), Justice Babatunde Adejumo and Mrs. Rakiya Ibrahim – raised 10 grounds it urged the appellate court to consider and set aside the high court verdict.

It accused Justice Tsoho of assuming jurisdiction in the case where the National Industrial Court of Nigeria has exclusive jurisdiction. The council insisted that Justice Ademola being a serving judge was under its supervision and regulation, saying the planned probe was in line with its statutory function.

The restraining order followed a suit Justice Ademola filed against the NJC which had already constituted a three-man panel to commence investigation into the said petition. The embattled Judge had contended that allowing the NJC to go ahead with the investigation when the petition had been withdrawn, would amount to gross abuse of his rights.

He told the high court that the NJC earlier invited him through a letter dated July 25, 2016, to appear before the three-man investigative panel on August 8 and 9, 2016. He claimed that the petitioner on his volition withdrew the petition on July 27, 2016, on the ground that it was written in error and based on misinformation.

According to him, withdrawal of the petition was backed with affidavit evidence that was deposed to by the petitioner himself, in which he clearly stated reasons he decided to abandon the matter.

Additional report from Vanguard