IN a desperate attempt swing the pendulum of justice in its favour at all costs, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State has concluded plans to “buy” all the Action Congress (AC) witnesses ahead of their testifying at the yet-to-be-inaugurated retrial tribunal as directed by the Court of Appeal that sat in Ibadan, Oyo State capital.
Reliable information made available to OSUN DEFENDER revealed that immediately after the appellate court delivered its judgment, directing the setting-up of a re-trial panel by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Umar Abdullahi, the PDP leaders reportedly went into series of meetings over how best to counter the judicial onslaught.
According to impeccable sources, once the appellate court gave its verdict on the petition filed by the AC candidate in the April 14, 2007 governorship election, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola, prominent PDP leaders who had unusually stormed the court premises to witness the ruling, were reported to have left the venue to meet at a location in Ibadan with a view to mapping out their next line of action.
A source at one of the meetings revealed to the medium in confidence that “buying” Aregbesola’s witnesses was given a top priority treatment and a committee was instantly set up to execute the plan to the letter.
To give serious backing to the party’s plans, about N500million has been budgeted for the scheme and a vocal serving commissioner was elected chairman of the implementation committee.
His nomination was based on his antecedents coupled with his professional background as a lawyer, who must ensure the success of the plans at whatever cost.
While giving the commissioner the marching order, the party directed him that apart from ensuring the plan’s success must also see to it that the project is carefully executed, to ensure that secrecy remains the rule of the game.
He was therefore advised to keep the issue out of public glare and disallow the media, especially those considered to be sympathetic to the opposition’s course in the state from gaining access to the information.
Each of the witnesses was also to be guaranteed of adequate police protection and other incentives by the committee including political appointments among others.
However, further findings revealed that most prominent PDP members in the state have reportedly turned down persuasions to contribute to the operation by AC witnesses as none of them was ready to part-with-a-dime over the scheme, which they reasoned could end up in private pockets.
It would be recalled that the Court of Appeal, which sat in Ibadan, had ruled on Monday that a new panel be set up to re-try the gubernatorial case.
By SOLA JACOBS