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INEC Chairman damns court’s 14-day ultimatum, refuses to recognize Edozie Njoku as APGA National Chairman

To be committed to prison November 29 for Contempt of Court

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The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Yakubu Mahmood, has damned the consequences and refused to recognise Chief Edozie Njoku as the National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) despite court’s 14-day ultimatum directing him to do so.

Consequent upon his refusal, Justice Mohammed Maidugu of the Federal Capital Territory High Court 40 sitting in Bwari, Abuja, will be left with no option that to commit him to prison on November 29, 2023, for Contempt of Court when the court will resume to enforce the committal to prison order.

It is noteworthy that Justice Maidugu of the FCT Court has ordered that the judgment of the Supreme Court on March 24, 2023, which affirmed Edozie Njoku as the authentic Chairman of APGA, be fully enforced in a subsequent order.

Reacting to Prof. Mahmood’s recalcitrant position, Chief Njoku, during a press conference held at the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) National Secretariat at Utako, Abuja, on November 24, 2023, lamented that Yakubu Mahmood, by all indices, has exalted himself above the law, damning a judgment of the apex court of the land.

During the press conference, with the theme “Prof. Yakubu Mahmood, INEC Chairman’s futile attempts to arrest justice as 14 days ultimatum to recognise Chief Edozie Njoku as National Chairman of APGA closes in on him“, Chief Njoku lamented the state of the All Progressives Grand Alliance under Yakubu’s INEC.

He noted that rather than do the needful, Yakubu and Oye headed to the Court of Appeal in a bid to procure Judges to consign the contempt charge dangling over their heads as exercise in futility.

Njoku said: “Against all odds, Nigerians must stand by the institution of the Judiciary to save it from men and women that are committed to compromising justice with the aim to ruin its integrity and sanctity.

“Like you know, on November 9, 2023, FCT High Court 40 (Suit No: FCT/HC/CV/4068/2023) (which was where Chief Victor Oye took me to in November 2022 on a criminal charge, alleging that I forged a Supreme Court Judgment and was subsequently remanded at the Suleja prison for two days) gave Prof. Yakubu Mahmood, INEC Chairman 14-days ultimatum to recognize me as National Chairman of APGA or risk jail.

“Today is November 24, 2023. That is, 5days away from November 29, 2023, the adjourned date for Mahmood to be sent to jail.

“By its judgment, the Court found Mahmood and Oye culpable, but out of leniency gave them a 14-day window to purge themselves or prepare for jail.

“Rather than do the needful, INEC headed by Yakubu Mahmood in collaboration with Oye have headed to the Appeal Court, boasting that they have procured enough Judges to ensure that the contempt charge dangling over their heads end up as exercise in futility.

“Should INEC not be immediately recognizing me? However, there are far reaching implications to INEC’s posturing and grandstanding.

“It signals an internment to competent Court orders in Nigeria.

“INEC led by Mahmood, simply wants to prove to the world that it has immunity, delusional powers to pick and anoint National Chairmen for political parties, as well as powers to decide which court order to obey and which one not to.

“Perhaps, this informs why INEC would obey the Judgment of the Court which removed Mr. Timipre Sylva’s name as the APC governorship candidate in the just concluded election and returned same when the Appeal Court ruled otherwise.

“Nonetheless, we have resolved to stand by the veracity of the Court in its judgments which states thus;

“A court does not make an order in vain; a court order must not be disobeyed. Disobedience to a valid court order undermines the integrity and sanctity of the court. This insanity of flouting court order must stop, and it cannot continue. The disobedience to the order made by this court on May 10, is undoubtedly an affront on the sanctity of the court.”

“Dear Countrymen and women, this is the way to go. We must stop men and women who feel that they have powers to select which court orders to obey and which not to obey. Nigeria is for us all and we cannot aide its destruction by keeping a blind eye to high handed impunity.

“By mounting pressure on the Appeal Court, Abuja Division, INEC lead by Mahmood and Oye are trying so hard to derail justice and make the truth captive. At this point, a rehash of the Judgment of the Appeal Court Kano Division in Suit No: CA/KN/146/2021 will suffice;

‘As I stated earlier, the disputes or cause of action between the 1st Respondent and 2nd Respondent centered on the question of the National Chairman of the 1st Applicant. The 1st and 2nd Respondents, claimed that the National Chairman had been suspended by the Party which necessitated the appointment of an Acting Chairman and whose position was in contention (Chief Edozie Njoku) was never joined as a Party so that he could be heard at the allegation against him which led to the contest between the 1st and 2nd Respondents.’

“The learned Justices at the Kano Panel Court made it expressly clear that it was my position as the National Chairman of APGA that was in contention.

“Furthermore, the sudden appearance of Chief Victor Oye’s name in the Appeal who was never the issue at the trial court was what Justice Ukaego Peter Mary – Odili referred to as a trajectory of errors in her November 7, 2022 letter, where she eminently addressed me as the National Chairman of APGA.

“And, following up on her letter, the Chief Justice of the Federation wrote me, personally on January 19, 2023 and addressed me as the National Chairman of APGA.

“Consequently, Hon. Justice Olatokunbo Motonmori Kekere Ekun, JSC, in her contributive judgment in Suit No. SC/687/2021 stated that;

‘It is therefore crystal clear that the dispute that gave rise to Appeal Nos: SC/CV/687/2021 & SC/CV/686/2021 was who should be the Acting National Chairman of the 1st Respondent and whether the ERSTWHILE National Chairman, Chief Edozie Njoku, was validly replaced. The suit had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with Chief Victor Ike Oye.’

“Despite the deliberate attempt to give the Kano Appeal Judgment deceptive interpretations, the Supreme Court eyeballed the merit and facts of the whole matter (from Jigawa to Kano) and considered my exclusion as joinder as a denial of my right to fair hearing and miscarriage of justice. Based on this, the Court reasoned thus;

“In the two (2) Appeals before the Court below; ie. (CA/KN/121/2021) and CA/KN/146/2021 in which Chief Victor Oye; the 2nd Respondent was joined and from which the Appeals No: SC/CV/686/2021 and SC/CV/687/2021 arose, respectively, the 2nd Respondent (Victor Oye) did not claim and was not found to have been the Chairman who was suspended or replaced at the Owerri Convention of 31st May, 2019 and who the 3rd Respondent sought to take over from as the Acting Chairman in the suit filed before the trial court…’”

Consequent upon the referenced judgments, Njoku reminded the Appeal Court, Abuja Division, that it is saddled with a similar accidental slip which occurred in his matter at the Supreme Court and that his prayers are with them.

He also reminded the Appeal Court that it is burdened by overwhelming workload, therefore, should attend to these sensitive tasks and not engage themselves on a matter that has already been resolved and settled by the Supreme Court.

“Nigerians, it is time to stand and be counted. We promise you that APGA leadership under my watch will not derail or drown your hopes and aspirations,” he concluded. Read more.

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