Monday, 15 February 2016

INEC Drags Andy Uba, Stella Oduah, Others to Supreme Court for Clarification on the Political Status

THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has approached the Supreme Court to seek clarification on the political status of Senators Andy Uba, Stella Uduah and other lawmakers representing Anambra State for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as it recognised the list of Ejike Oguebego- led state executive committee of the party.

But Senators Annie Okonkwo, Chris Ubah, John Emeka and other PDP lawmakers on the list of the Oguebego executive that got the apex court’s judgment, have written INEC alleging that the commission made a biased presentation of facts in its motion for clarification.

A letter from the law firm of A.C. Ozioko and addressed to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, on behalf of the lawmakers dated February 10, condemned the steps taken by the electoral body as well as the alleged biased manner in which the application for clarification was brought and couched.

While holding that there was no ambiguity in the apex court’s judgment, the Oguebego group said the decision to go back to the Supreme Court for clarification of its judgment could not have arisen from a neutral and unbiased arbiter.

The group also accused the electoral body of suppressing the facts of the case by deliberately removing some vital pages of the lead judgment of the Supreme Court including the attachments of the letter of Chief Chris Uche (SAN) to INEC dated January 29, 2016.

A panel of Supreme Court justices had in its judgment delivered on January 29 this year affirmed the judgment of the Federal High Court which held that only the constitutionally-recognized state party leadership led by Oguebego could organize the party primaries.

In the judgment of the Federal High Court which was restored by the Supreme Court, the PDP, its agents, servants, privies were restrained from forwarding, sending or submitting to the second defendant (INEC) any delegates list or nominated candidates that may emerge from the congress conducted by the purported caretaker committee set up by the first defendant for the PDP, except those that emanate from the plaintiffs’ (Ejike Oguebego and Hon.Chucks Okoye) congresses and primaries.

Justice Elvis Chukwu, who delivered the judgment, further restrained INEC, its agents, servants, privies, assigns, officials whatsoever name they may be called from accepting or receiving any delegate from the congresses or primaries conducted by the caretaker committee set up by the first defendant for the state PDP, except those that emanate from the palintiffs.

Although the above judgment of the Federal High Court was subsequently set aside by the Court of Appeal, it was restored by the Supreme Court in its judgment of January 29, following a successful appeal by the Oguebego group.

In a motion on notice dated February 5, 2016 and filed by a consortium of lawyers headed by Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), the electoral body set out six issues for clarification.

In urging the apex court to review its judgment in the interest of justice, INEC said it was confused on the step to follow.

The motion which was brought under Order 8 rule 16 of the Supreme Court Rules. 1999, Section 22 of the Supreme Court Act, 2004 and Section 6(6) of the 1999 Constitution is attached with a 10-paragraph affidavit of urgency while the main motion has a deposed affidavit of 19 paragraphs, all deposed to by Ebuka Nwaeze, a lawyer in the law firm of Chief Awomolo.

No date has been fixed for hearing the motion..

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