Mr Suraju Olanrewaju, Chairman, Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) has petitioned the Department of State Security to investigate media reports that Delta House of Assembly Speaker Monday Igbuya and 23 of his colleagues have contributed N120m with which to buy favourable judgement from the three-judge tribunal panel.
Olanrewaju quoted Speaker Igbuya, according to Sahara Reporters, as soliciting N5m each from the Delta lawmakers whose victory was contested at the tribunal, telling them he knew a liaison who would channel the slush funds to one of the tribunal’s judges
The full petition addressed to the Director General of DSS in Abuja reads:
INVESTIGATION INTO THE ALLEGED PLAN TO BRIBE DELTA STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ELECTION TRIBUNAL JUDGES BY DELTA STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY SPEAKER MR. MONDAY IGBUYA
Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) is a coalition of over hundred and fifty Anti-corruption organizations whose primary aim is to constructively combat corruption vigorously and to ensure the effective monitoring of the various Anti-graft agencies in the fight against corruption and contribute towards the enthronement of transparency, accountability, probity and total commitment in the fight to eradicate corruption in Nigeria.
An online newspaper, Sahara Reporters, in its publication of 10th September, 2015 reported a desperate attempt by 23 members of the Delta State House of Assembly under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to bribe a panel of Election Tribunal judges.
According to the report, two members of the Delta State House of Assembly, under the platforms of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the Labour Party (LP), disclosed that 23 PDP members in the Delta State House of Assembly have already contributed N5 million each with which to compromise the three-member panel of judges and receive a favourable judgment against the Petitioners.
The report emphatically quoted the SDP House of Assembly lawmaker as saying “just few days ago, I was approached by the Speaker of the House, Mr. Monday Igbuya, whose election has been challenged too, saying that twenty-three members of the House under his Party, the PDP, have contributed N5 million each, amounting to N115 million to have favourable judgments against the petitioners challenging their election.”
“The Speaker therefore advised me that I bring my own N5 million to join to the N115 million already contributed for the settlement of the judges. Other members of the House under the PDP approached me to buy into the project in order for me to get victory at the tribunal. But I told the Speaker and other members who approached me that since I am very confident that I won my April 11, 2015 election fair and square I don’t need to bribe anybody to undermine justice,” the SDP lawmaker was reported to have stated confidently.
Furthermore, according to the report, a Labour Party lawmaker narrated a similar instance with Mr. Monday Igbuya describing how he “approached him (LP lawmaker) to bring N5 million contribution to settle the panel of judges at the House of Assembly tribunal to get justice.
He stated, “When the pressure was becoming unbearable for me, I asked the Speaker how he will go about it, and he told me in confidence that 23 PDP members of the House already raised about N115m, and will be rooted through Mrs. Pat Ajudua, a member of the House, representing Oshimili North constituency, said to be a very close associate of one of the tribunal judges.”
Speaking further, he said, “Monday Igbuya confided in me that he will not leave anything to chance, that he is very desperate to save his seat. He is worried he could lose his seat, which is why he decided to engage the services of Mrs. Pat Ajudua, the wife of Nigeria’s famous fraudster Fred Ajudua, to compromise the tribunal judges.”
Saharareporters’ report also stated that from investigations gathered, the speaker Mr. Igbuya, has a very bad case against him before the election tribunal hence the desperation to get judgement in his favour. Members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state were reported to have earlier raised alarm on a plot to compromise the panel members.
This is another serious allegation and evidential case of corrupt practices at its peak and a calculated attempt to pervert the cause of justice, capable of precipitating electoral violence. Where an election tribunal is compromised, the matter before it will no longer be decided on its merit, thereby eroding the will of the people to elect leaders of their choice which will invariably contribute greatly in truncating this fragile democracy the country is currently grappling with.
In the light of this, CSNAC is therefore by this petition demanding that a thorough investigation be launched into these allegations as reported to ascertain their veracity or otherwise. This investigation should be extensive to include a detailed collation of the phone call logs of Mr. Monday Igbuya, Mrs Pat Ajudua as well as the tribunal chairman to determine if there has been any form of communication among them which will go a long way in unravelling the circumstances surrounding these allegations. The two members of assembly are to be invited by your office to officially document their assertions as contained in the report. Where necessary, the publishers of saharareporters can be reached for recordings of interviews with the SDP and LP members of the Assembly on this allegation.
By acceding to this demand, you would have gone a long way in contributing to the restoration of the judiciary to its status of “the last hope of the common man.”
Thank you in anticipation of your favourable cooperation and prompt action.