— Insist SDP filed no petition before expiration of 21 days deadline
— Convener cries out over threat to life, says ‘I won’t budge’
The Kogi lawyers and activists who alerted the general public to an alleged clandestine move by the Social Democratic Party and its Governorship candidate to file their petition against the outcome of the November 11 poll through the backdoor and backdate same have submitted a petition to the President of the Court of Appeal, security chiefs, and other relevant authorities on what they described as the party’s anti-democratic moves, which they insisted must not be allowed to stand.
The lawyers insisted in their petition that from their direct investigations at the Registry of the Kogi State Governorship Election Tribunal, at the High Court premises, in Lokoja, no petitioned had been filed by the SDP candidate even as at Tuesday, 23 days after the declaration of results by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The Convener of the United Front for Democracy, Barr. Yetunde Olubunmi Shaibu, who led the lawyers to submit the petition in Abuja, said this while addressing the media.
The lawyers called on the President of the Court of Appeal, to beam her searchlight on the Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, more particularly, on the registry, to ensure that nothing is done to undermine the sanctity of the Judiciary.
“Deadline for filing election petition is 21 days; 21 days from the 12th November, 2023 ended 12 midnight of 3rd December, 2023; at which time no petition had been filed by the SDP,” they maintained.
In the petition, the lawyers stated, “Furtherance to that press conference, and being a public institution and for which members of the general public are entitled to information, our Organization, led by my humble self, Barr Yetunde Olubunmi Shaibu, took it upon itself to access the Registry of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, at the High Court premises in Lokoja, to ascertain whether a petition had indeed been filed and discovered that, aside from the fact that no petition had been filed by the SDP and its candidate, the Tribunal Registrar or Secretary like they call him, who is the only person mandated to assess and file the processes, was perpetually not on seat.
“We can therefore, authoritatively confirm to Nigerians and Kogites in particular that, as at the time of our visit to the Tribunal Registry, no petition had been filed. Today, clearly makes it the 23rd day since the Governorship election result in Kogi State was announced.”
They, however, pointed out that they were not by any means suggesting that the SDP had no right to file a petition.
“What we are saying is that, while at it, they should not try to circumvent the course of justice. Let the actual day the petition is filed be reflected on the petition and none other,” they said.
While addressing the press, Shaibu noted that some supporters of the SDP had sent text messages and threatened across different platforms to harm her but that this would not stop her from fighting for what is right under the law.
“This will not stop me from following the path of truth. I maintain that they did not file their petition within 21 days as specified by the law. They have a right to prove us wrong,” she noted.
The petitioners copied the Chief Justice of Nigeria, National Judicial Council, Director General of the Department of State Services, and Inspector-General of Police.