A Nigerian High Court judge, Gabriel Kolawole, has granted a bizarre court injunction restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives as well as two plaintiffs in a case already decided by the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
On January 29, 2016, the Supreme Court had upheld a ruling of a High Court declaring the Ejike Oguebego-led executive of the Anambra State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the recognized leadership empowered to conduct primaries in Anambra State. The apex court’s ruling effectively meant that all senators, members of the House and state legislators from Anambra whose names were not submitted by the Oguebego-led executive were not legitimately elected.
The Supreme Court’s verdict meant that Senators Andy Uba and Stella Oduah, as well as such representatives as Anayo Nnebe, Eucharia Azodo, Chris Azubogu, Obinna Chidoka, Linda Ikpeazu, Tony Nwoye and Chukwuka Onyema, had been swept away from their seats in favor of candidates who won primaries conducted by the PDP’s Anambra State executive led by Mr. Oguebego.
A source at INEC told a correspondent of SaharaReporters that, soon after the Supreme Court’s judgment, a consortium of pricey lawyers led by Adegboyega Awomolo stepped in to thwart the implementation of the judgment. Mr. Awomolo and his cohorts pressured INEC not to issue certificates of return to the legitimate candidates presented by Oguebego’s leadership. Our source disclosed that the connivance between INEC lawyers and those hired by Ms. Oduah, a controversial former Aviation Minister, and Andy Uba, who once served as the domestic aide to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, culminated in another lawsuit initiated by the losing legislators asking the Supreme Court to properly interpret its judgment.
Meanwhile, while awaiting the decision of the Supreme Court on their request, the legislators who lost out filed a case at Justice Kolawole’s Court seeking an interim order stopping INEC from carrying out its statutory duty to withdraw their certificates of return and issue same to the list of candidates presented by the Oguebego executive.
Several lawyers told our correspondent that Justice Kolawole’s decision to grant the orders amounted to “serious judicial rascality,” in the words of one lawyer. Another lawyer said the judgment was likely to land the errant judge in serious trouble with the National Judicial Council (NJC), a body entrusted with the disciplining erring judges.
In a related development, the victorious legislative candidates, who won primaries conducted by the Oguebego-led executive, have filed contempt of court proceedings against INEC on the matter. The plaintiffs in the contempt case include Prince John Emeka.
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