Senator Nkechi Nwaogu
By Kunle Akogun
Chairman, Senate Committee on Gas, Senator Nkechi Nwaogu, has described the Court of Appeal ruling annulling her election as not only outrageous, but also bizarre,
The lawmaker also raised the alarm over the delay in releasing the judgment papers to her lawyers to process her appeal at the Supreme Court, saying the delay smacked of some sinister motive.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja had on Tuesday overturned the earlier ruling of the Federal High Court affirming that her nomination was not only in order, but that Osisioma Ngwa, which is the local government area in contention, is in Abia Central Senatorial district.
The Appeal Court premised the invalidation of her nomination for the last April senatorial election on the fact that Osisioma Ngwa Local Government Area in Abia State was not part of Abia Central Senatorial district, which she had been representing since 2007.
However, Nwaogu told journalists in Abuja yesterday, in her first reaction after the court ruling that the Appeal Court ruling beat every sane imagination.
She said from historical and political records, all her predecessors had been representing Abia Central, which includes Osisioma Ngwa, and besides, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was mindful of the constituency structure of all the districts and, accordingly, listed Osisioma as it had always been in Abia Central.
"So it is inconceivable that a court will now be the determinant of boundaries and constituency delineation for the purposes of election. In any case, I have implicit confidence in the judiciary and I believe that at the end of the day, the truth shall prevail", she said.
Her lawyer, Teddy Eruba, also protested the delay in securing the judgment records and also faulted the ruling, saying: "We have listened to the summary of the Judgment. The judges did not read the judgment in full. But the much we heard did not contain the reason for which they held that Osisioma Ngwa LGA, which has voted in and as part of Abia Central Senatorial District in the past four senatorial elections beginning from 1999 spanning well over 12 years, is now in Abia South.
"Up till now, we have been waiting for a copy of the Judgment without success. The Judges who had complained of a lot of errors in the judgment may still be working on the judgment days after its summary was delivered. One wonders why the hurry to deliver the judgment when it had not been cross checked for errors. Whatever be the case lawyers for the Senator Nwaogu are set for the Supreme Court to seek to set aside the said judgment which is described as a phenomenal mis-appreciation of even very notorious facts.
The said judgment, Eruba added, had disqualified both Emeka Atuma, the appellant, and incumbent, Senator Nkechi Justina Nwaogu, making no consequential orders as to whether INEC should conduct another election there or whether anybody else should take the Senate seat there. As it were, the judgment gave no sense of direction. At best, the judgment can be described as inchoate.
"Senator Nkechi Nwogu will however continue to hold her seat by virtue of the Court of Appeal judgment in Owerri sitting as appeal tribunal, pending when the Supreme Court will finally determine whether Osisioma Ngwa LGA is in Abia Central or South Senatorial District. The implication of the current judgment of the Court of Appeal is that another senatorial election will be done for Abia Central as every political party that ran that election used Osisioma votes.”