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INEC chairman risks jail term for Contempt of Court

Publishes illegal governorship candidates for APGA in Kogi, Imo & Bayelsa States


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Justice Mohammed Madugu of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting in Bwari has fixed September 14, for a definite hearing of a motion seeking an order of court to commit the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to prison.

The committal charge emanated from a suit marked: FCT/HC/CV/4068/2023), filed in April 2023, by Otunba Camaru Lateef Ogidan (National Vice Chairman, South West Geopolitical Zone, APGA) and Mustapha Rabiu (National Welfare Officer), who emerged at the Owerri Convention of May 31, 2019, under the leadership of Chief Edozie Njoku, the National Chairman of APGA.

Consequently, on June 6, 2023, the Court hearkened the plea of the plaintiffs and pursuant to Section 287 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which states that any Court of record can enforce the judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

The Judge enforced the Supreme Court Judgment of March 24, 2023, stating clearly that Chief Victor Oye has no right whatsoever to parade himself as the National Chairman of APGA.

In the suit, Chief Victor Oye is the 1st Respondent, while the Chairman of INEC is the 2nd Respondent.

Both respondents are standing trial for disobeying Supreme Court Judgment of March 24, 2023, which declared Chief Njoku as the rightful National Chairman of APGA.

However, the committal charges on INEC Chairman which comes up on September 14, 2023 was due to his refusal to recognize Chief Edozie Njoku as the rightful National Chairman of APGA.

Prof. Yakubu ahead to publish illegal names of governorship candidates for APGA for the coming elections in Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa States which did not emanate from Chief Njoku.

Nevertheless, the contempt charges on Victor Oye and Prof. Mahmood was for flaunting and ignoring the Court’s interim injunction on May 10, 2023, which ordered parties in the suit to maintain status quo ante bellum pending the determination of the substantive suit comes up on September 28, 2023.

Recall that despite the Court injunction ordering Oye, his privies and assigns not to call any meeting, or hold any campaign or convention in the name of the Party, Oye flaunted the Court’s order by holding NEC meeting and Convention.

The injunction also ordered Oye to stop parading himself as the National Chairman of APGA.

Similarly, Prof. Yakubu continued to recognize Oye as the National Chairman of APGA as against the court order.

He also published the name of one Mr. Sylvester Ezeokonwa who was a product of an illegal convention held at Awka.

Michael Ajara, counsel for the Plaintiff/Applicants informed the Court that the motion for the committal of the INEC chairman to prison was overripe for hearing, having been served on INEC Chairman on July 13, 2023, which the court verified from its records.

Before the court fixed the hearing date, it discovered that the original copy of the proof of service of the committal charge on Victor Oye had disappeared from the Judge’s file, while that of his fellow contemnor, Mahmood Yakubu, was in the file.

Strangely, Ajara was having a CTC of the proof of service on Oye and Mahmood.

In a bid to unravel the mix-up, the Judge called the attention of the Chief Registrar, Barr. Joseph Igboyi, to verify if he was the one that signed the CTC and he admitted that he did.

When the bailiff, Mr. Musa Abdulwahab, was called to produce the original copy of the proof of service which was meant to be in the Judge’s file, he admitted that he removed the original copy from the file.

Musa never provided reason why he removed the Proof of Service from the Judge’s file.

This generated uproar in the Court, leaving the Judge with no other option other than to adjourn Oye’s matter for September 28, 2023.

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