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Tinubu Not Undermining Judiciary, No Plan For One-Party Rule — Presidency  

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The Presidency has strongly refuted claims by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate in the 2023 elections, Atiku Abubakar, that President Bola Tinubu was undermining the judiciary and planning to foist a one-party state on Nigeria.

The Presidency, in a statement by the special adviser to the President on information and strategy, Bayo Onanuga, maintained that Tinubu remains committed to upholding judicial independence and Nigeria’s democratic values against the “desperate” accusations of the opposition.

The Presidency categorically dismissed accusations that Tinubu was undermining the judiciary with partisan appointments or has any intention of foisting a one-party system on the country.

He said: “In separate statements, the Peoples Democratic Party and the spokesman of Atiku Abubakar, its defeated Presidential candidate, threw caution to the winds as they assaulted the integrity of the judiciary and made wild and libellous allegations against President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“In the wake of the poor run of some elected governors of the party at the appeal court, the PDP and former Vice President and his spokesman have become overtly desperate to hang their woes on President Tinubu and the judiciary, an important arm of government in Nigeria.

“In blaming others, Atiku and his party have failed to demonstrate whether they had done any soul-searching before going public with their weighty, specious, reckless and irresponsible allegations.

“While we do not hold brief for the judiciary, we urge Nigerians to discountenance the malicious allegations by the PDP and its candidate that President Tinubu as governor of Lagos, silenced the opposition and corrupted the judiciary and that he is planning to foist a one-party state on the country by appointing “loyalists” as Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs).”

Stating that President Tinubu is a democrat to the core, Onanuga said: “We make bold to say that as president, he has not interfered with the judgment of the judiciary. We had witnessed how under his watch the PDP governor in Osun defeated the APC at the Supreme Court. Similarly, the PDP Governor in Bauchi also won his case in the Appeal court, beating the APC.

“President Tinubu is also not planning to impose a one-party state as Atiku has serially alleged and his party and spokesman have now parroted.”

According to the presidential aide, the allegations were deliberately aimed at unnecessarily heating up the polity and causing disenchantment in the country.

He said they existed only in the imagination of the PDP and the former vice president.

“Unlike Atiku Abubakar, President Tinubu’s record as a democrat par excellence and a strong advocate of the rule of law have been globally acknowledged.

“His record of service as governor, which witnessed giant strides in various facets of the state, was responsible for the dominance of his political structure in Lagos and not by any undemocratic conduct, as Atiku Abubakar wants the public to believe,” he added.

In contrast, the Presidency said it was on record that Atiku recently confessed about the electoral heist his party executed in the South West in 2003 which Tinubu survived out of the six Governors of the defunct Alliance for Democracy (AD).

According to him, “while Atiku and PDP are now crying wolf over the Appeal Court rulings on governorship polls in Plateau, Zamfara and Nasarawa States, we hasten to ask the former Vice President where he was in 2019 when the court ruled against All Progressives Congress in Zamfara State. The court then awarded all the positions won by the APC to PDP.

“Where was Atiku also in 2019 when in Rivers State, the court stopped APC from fielding any candidate in both the Governorship and House of Assembly elections?.

“Where was Atiku and the PDP in 2019, when on the eve of the swearing-in of Bayelsa governor-elect, David Lyon, the Supreme Court handed the victory of the APC to the candidate of the PDP, Governor Diri who was earlier rejected at the poll by the people of Bayelsa?.

“Atiku and PDP then savoured all these court-handed trophies as sweet victories for PDP and celebrated the courts as protectors of democracy.

“Now that the same courts are annulling PDP victories, based on the blatant violations of the law by the lawless party, the party is mudslinging the judiciary and President Tinubu.

“We once again implore Atiku and PDP to stop their campaign of calumny and blackmail against the judiciary and the honourable judges and justices. Judgments are based on law and evidence. In election petition cases, they are based on the Electoral Act and the Constitution, not on sentiments and emotions.

“It is irresponsible and a disservice to our country for the opposition, after failing to observe the letters and spirits of the law, to now turn around to tear down an important arm of our government,” he added.

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