The President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, has transferred all the election petition cases pending before the court in the 36 states of the federation to the Abuja and Lagos divisions of the court.
POLITICS NIGERIA reports that the order, which affects governorship, national, and state assembly elections, was reportedly made in response to petitions and protests by political parties and their candidates, who allege that the judges of the tribunals at the state divisions were compromised by the governors during the trial stage.
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and the Labour Party (LP), and their aggrieved candidates in their various petitions and protests to the leadership of the appellate court had alleged that the judges of the tribunals became vulnerable as governors generously provided logistics and other support for them.
The aggrieved parties and their candidates protested that various judgments pronounced by some of the tribunal judges were not only fraudulent but were “purchased” outright by the governors in favor of their parties and candidates in the election.
Sources reportedly said that the appellants in the various cases expressed apprehension that the same fate might befall them if their cases were allowed to be determined by the other divisions of the Court of Appeal in states under the watch of the governors.
A source said the leadership of the appellate court was persuaded to move against the governors by relocating the cases to Abuja and Lagos, where the judges could be effectively monitored by the president of the appeal court.
The source said Dongban-Mensem had reportedly launched discreet inquiries into the allegations against the governors and the judges of the trial tribunal, and it was gathered that inquiries established the veracity of the allegations to the extent that a compromised alliance was established between some governors and judges of the tribunals.
Some judges of the tribunals were reportedly indicted and might face trial by the National Judicial Council (NJC).