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Court reserves ruling in case of INEC chairman’s committal to prison

As INEC makes futile attempts to hide under the shadow of Victor Oye’s purported appeal


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Justice M. A Madugu of the FCT High Court 40 Bwari today September 14, 2023 reserved ruling (sine dine) in the committal proceedings seeking to commit the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to prison for his disobedience to the Court’s judgment of June 6, 2023.

Recall that on September 11, 2023, the Court adjourned to September 14, 2023, to entertain the motion for Mahmood’s committal to prison.

When the Court rose today, Mike Ajara and Panam Ntui, counsels to the Applicants/Plaintiffs informed the Court that the matter was overripe for hearing and that he was ready for the motion.

However, Al Hassan Umar (SAN) and Mr. S. O. Ibrahim (SAN) announced appearance in defense of the Respondent (Prof. Mahmood Yakubu).

Besides the two learned silks, Mahmood further fortified his defense council with additional five lawyers.

The defense counsel notified the court of their Preliminary Objection filed this morning stating that the case’s nomenclature was changed and that the matter is before the appeal Court.

Similarly, Al Hassan opined that by virtue of the matter being before the Appeal Court, the lower court lacked jurisdiction to hear it.

The Judge asked if Mahmood had appealed the judgment of the Court, but Al Hassan responded in the negative, but still claimed that Victor Oye’s appeal on the matter was enough.

The Counsel to the Plaintiffs requested the Court to grant him leave to respond on the point of law and his application was granted.

After taking the defense counsels’ Preliminary Objection and the Plaintiffs Counsels’ response, the Court rose and reserved ruling sine dine – (that is at a later date to be communicated to the parties via the Court’s Registrar).

Conspicuously, INEC is neither contending the authenticity of the Supreme Court Judgement nor are they contesting the enforcement judgement of the Bwari Court, rather they are claiming that the matter is before the Appeal Court.

Meanwhile, INEC has not appealed the judgment but, instead, is relying on the purported appeal of Victor Oye. This is not only ridiculous, but an open admission that INEC is in collusion with Oye to disregard the law.

Reacting to the development in the court on Thursday, a member of the camp of the National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Edozie Njoku, who pleaded anonymity, told News Band correspondent:

“Clearly, it is a simple case of brazen attempt by Prof. Mahmood Yakubu (INEC Chairman) to suppress the Supreme Court Judgement of (March 24, 2023) as well as the enforcement judgement of (June 6, 2023) which unequivocally stated that Chief Edozie Njoku is the National Chairman of APGA, and not the embattled former Chairman, Ozo Victor Ike Oye.

“Concisely, Mahmood’s refusal to recognize Chief Edozie Njoku as the rightful National Chairman of APGA is the reason why members of the NWC of the Party are pressing for Mahmood to be committed to prison. No one is above the law.

“Apparently, what is playing out at the FCT High Court 40 Bwari is an audacious, unwavering and profound attempt by a fearless Judge to stamp the impartiality of the judiciary without caring whose ox is gored.

“The underlying lessons in this gesture will endure for ages, especially, at a time when most Nigerians seem to have lost hope and modicum of respect for the judicial system.

Interestingly, this was the same Judge that sent Chief Edozie Njoku to jail over the allegation of forgery of a Supreme Court Judgement (SC/CV/687/2021).

The source says further: “Dramatically, the story has taken on a very interesting and impressive twist, and one year later, the truth stares us all in the face.

“Imagine the barrage of intimidations, harassment and highhandedness that Chief Edozie Njoku has gone through and is still going through, in search of justice!”

Conclusively, as Al Hassan, the lead counsel of Mahmood pleaded with the Court to note that they have no special interest in the matter and that they are disposed to alternative dispute resolution of the matter, having failed to advance the logic that the Court should stay proceedings, because the matter is before the Appeal Court.

However, he is fully aware that Prof. Mahmood Yakubu did not appeal the matter.

“Such brazen plot to arrest the case, while they still refuse to recognize Chief Edozie Njoku as the rightful National Chairman of APGA, as stated in the Supreme Court judgment, is a testament to the fact that the price of freedom is the eternal freedom,” the source added. Read more.


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