Ahead of the forthcoming judgment of the Kogi State Election Petition Tribunal, a civil rights movement under the aegis of Kogi Patriotic Front (KPF) has alleged that Governor Yahaya Bello, has given out N1.5 billion to the three justices to influence verdict to his favour.
The group said, the deal was brokered by First Lady, Hajiya Aisha Buhari, using her relationship with the governor to secure victory for him.
Their position was contained in a statement obtained by journalists on Sunday in Abuja entitled: “Kogi Governorship Tribunal & Crooks On The Bench”, and signed by the President of KPF, Babatunde Matani; Secretary-General, Ms. Ojonoka Mathew and Public Relations Officer, Oiza Sule.
While expressing surprise that a state government which has been unable to pay salaries of workers for the past eight months could afford to allegedly “bribe tribunal judges for selfish reasons”, KPF threatened to take up the matter with the National Judicial Council (NJC).
But in his reaction, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Yahaya Bello, Kingsley Fanwo, dismissed the allegation saying those behind it were out for mischief and blackmail.
The KPF statement reads: “Our attention has been reliably drawn to the fact that the three justices have been settled with N1.5 billion by Governor Yahaya Bello in order to pervert the course of justice. The largesse has been shared at N500 million.
“Our investigations reveal that the money has been paid in foreign currency, while the justices have assured the governor that they will deliver judgment in his favour. We have reliably learnt that the First Lady, Hajiya Aisha Buhari, brokered the deal, using her relationship with Yahaya Bello, who is already boasting of victory and celebrating over judgment that has not been delivered.
“While we may not be surprised at the desperation of politicians to get power by hook or crook, we are surprised that a State government which cannot pay salaries of workers for the past eight months can afford to bribe tribunal judges for selfish reasons.
“We intend to complain to the National Judicial Council (NJC) for this fraudulent, dubious and unprofessional crooks on the Nigerian Bench which we consider tantamount to the commercialisation of the peoples mandate. The KPF sees this as a travesty of justice and an affront on legality.
“We have our facts and we are imploring members of the public, media, civil society organisations and the intelligentsia to go ahead and carry out their independent investigation of this scam. The KPF will come out very soon with facts to open another can of worms. Our determination to free Kogi State from the pangs of enslavement and political colonisation by the Presidency of Muhammadu Buhari, is a battle of no retreat, no surrender. Long Live Kogi State, Long Live Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
But Fanwo in dismissing the group said the governor of Kogi State would not have reacted to the allegation “if not for the calculated attempt at blackmailing the judiciary by mercenaries hired for a hatchet job.”
He said: “The Governor of Kogi State is a believer in the independence of the judiciary. What is on trial is the electoral process leading to the emergence of the Governor and not the judiciary. The parties to the case have defended their positions and the judiciary should be allowed to adjudicate. Those who have approached the tribunal to challenge the victory of the Governor should have faith in the temple of justice.
“Mounting a campaign of calumny against the institution they have approached for justice is a vindication of our conviction that they are only misinforming the unsuspecting public to whip up negative sentiments.
“The allegations are laughable, untrue, malicious and illogical. We urge Kogi people to continue to support Governor Yahaya Bello to take Kogi State to higher heights. The Governor is a big stakeholder in the Kogi project. He has never represented any other constituency apart from this state and therefore will not subscribe to those who want a contentious baby shared.”
Source: News Express.
*Photo shows Governor Yahaya Bello.