The decision of an Abuja High Court to sack Senator Ifeanyi Ubah of the Young Progressives Party (YPP) has been described as the greatest disservice to the principle of rule of law and a massive travesty of justice.
It noted that the court overreached itself and made an order that is substantially dubious and unsustainable because the person being asked to be sworn in was never in the ballot paper.
While reacting to the ruling, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) stated that the Abuja High Court has increased the credibility crises tearing the nation’s judiciary apart because it has just awarded the Senate seat of an election to a claimant that was never in the ballots just as the rights group said it will approach the National Judicial Council (NJC) to ask for severe sanctions for the presiding judged, Bello Kawu, for bringing the nation’s judicial system into disrepute.
HURIWA recalled that the court, in a ruling by Justice Kawu, nullified Ubah’s election for allegedly using a forged National Examination Council (NECO) certificate to contest the senatorial election that was held in the state on February 23, 2019 just as the judge had on April 11, 2019 ordered that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should withdraw the Certificate of Return it issued to Ubah and issue a fresh one to Obinna Uzoh of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who came second in the poll. Ubah polled a total of 87, 081 votes to emerge winner of the Anambra South Senatorial District.
Senator Ubah then approached the same court to ask for a review since there was a manifest display of unfairness but the court restated her earlier ruling.
Ubah said he was neither served with the court processes nor hearing notice with respect to the suit before the court proceeded to deliver the judgment against him.
HURIWA recalled that following his application for a stay of execution, Justice Kawu, on December 4, restrained the Senate president from swearing-in Uzoh, pending the hearing and determination of the motion challenging the verdict just as the court equally ordered all the parties, including INEC, to maintain the status quo until it decides the merit in Ubah’s contention.
However, the judge has just held that Ubah’s application to vacate its judgment lacked merit and accordingly dismissed it just as he also dismissed a motion of another claimant to the PDP senatorial ticket, Chief Chris Uba, filed to be joined as an interested party in the substantive suit marked CV/3044/2018, which was filed before the court by an electorate in the state, Anani Chuka.
The rights group said by not joining the actual PDP Senatorial Candidate Chief Chris Uba in the Abuja High Court has clearly demonstrated an unnatural interest in midwifing a predetermined outcome in the suit. The rights group said it will ask the NJC to investigate the Judge to ascertain his special interest in the matter.
HURIWA said the judgment is a travesty of justice and stated in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, that the ruling is irregular.
It also described all the legal wrongs in the suit as lack of territorial jurisdiction, adding: “The Federal Capital Territory High Court lacks territorial jurisdiction to hear the YPP primary election that took place at Nnewi in Anambra state for the nomination of the party’s candidate for the Anambra South Senatorial District.
HURIWA said it has already put machinery in motion to petition the NJC so that “these monumental display of judicial rascality and professional incompetence by the judge is sufficiently addressed.”