After months of waiting and anxiety by stakeholders and other democrats across the world, the National Judicial Council (NJC) has reportedly succumbed to pressure by setting up a five – man panel to investigate the alleged compromise of the Justice Thomas Naron-led Election Petitions Tribunal that sat in Osun State.
The alleged compromise of the tribunal judges was revealed through telephone conversations between the tribunal members and one of the lead counsel to the embattled Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Otunba Kunle Kalejaiye (SAN) as published in one of the previous editions of TheNEWS magazine.
OSUN DEFENDER reliably gathered that the affected tribunal judges had earlier been queried by the nation’s Chief Justice, Idris Kutigi, who doubles as the NJC chairman.
It was learnt that the five judges of the tribunal have responded to the queries sent to them by the NJC boss.
According to the source, the NJC members are expected to meet this week to decide on the mode of the investigation of the tribunal judges.
It was further learnt that the council at the meeting was expected to review all the petitions against the panel members, after which the five-man panel of enquiry would commence its job.
It would be recalled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had summoned the Mobile Telecommunication Network (MTN), requesting for the call log of the affected tribunal judges and the lawyer (Kalejaiye).
The medium further reliably gathered that the council may either base its investigation on the outcome of the EFCC investigation or commence its own investigation afresh.
An NJC member said that this would be the first time the council would be handling an issue relating to technological challenges, adding that all the NJC members are curious to establish the fact of the matter.
The NJC was petitioned by the Action Congress (AC) in Osun State and its governorship candidate, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola over the alleged romance between the tribunal judges and the tribunal which was unveiled by TheNews magazine few days to the day set aside for judgment by the tribunal.
Ever before the revelations of TheNews magazine, the state chapter of the AC had alleged that the tribunal was biased, asking the panel members to disqualify themselves from delivering judgment on the governorship tussle.
Despite the revelations by the magazine and the plea of the petitioners that the tribunal should disqualify itself from delivering the judgment, the tribunal shunned all oppositions and delivered judgment on the governorship tussle on July 15, 2008, upholding the election of the embattled governor.
An appeal had since been filed against the judgment of the tribunal at the Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan.
Other members of the tribunal to be investigated by the NJC are Justices Joy Akpugunhum; Justice Joe Ekanem; Justice Sa’adu Mohammed and A.T Badamas.