Court Threatens to Jail INEC Chairman over Ubah, Oduah Stay in the Senate


Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja

A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, to appear before it on Friday to explain why he should not be committed to prison for flagrantly disobeying its order.

The order made on Tuesday, was predicated on suit (FHC/ABJ/CS/854/2014) instituted by Mr. Ejike Oguebego, the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Anambra State chapter and Hon. Chuks Okoye, Legal Adviser of the state chapter of the party — for themselves and on behalf of other members of the State Executive Committee of the PDP against the national secretariat of PDP, INEC and Professor Yakubu, over the controversial 2015 National Assembly election in Anambra State.

The applicants had moved an ‘’ex-parte motion’’ dated April 6, 2016, praying the court for an order granting them leave to serve Yakubu and the INEC with Form 48 – Notice of Consequences of Disobedience to Order of Court – in their addresses and through some dailies, having refused to accept service of same from the bailiffs of the court.
Ruling on the motion, Justice J. T. Tsoho, granted the leave to serve Professor Yakubu with Form 48 with endorsed copy of the order of court.
The judge particularly ordered Professor Yakubu and the INEC to be served by substituted means by advertisement in THISDAY and one other daily newspaper

.The Supreme Court had recently recognised Oguebego as the authentic PDP chairman in Anambra State.
The apex court’s decision followed an appeal by the then faction of the PDP in the state led by Oguebego, whose case for recognition as the authentic executive of the party in the state and therefore, the right organ to conduct primary election prior to the 2015 election, was set aside by the Court of Appeal early last year.

A Federal High Court, in Abuja, sitting under Justice Evoh Chukwu, had in a judgment delivered on December 5, 2014 in suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/854/2014 filed by Oguebego and the legal secretary of Anambra PDP, Chuks Okoye (for themselves and the state executive committee of the party, affirmed Oguebego’s leadership of the party.
The appeal court in setting aside the judgment of the Federal High Court, recognised the PDP faction led by Augustine Akobundu and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and thereafter, accepted the list of nominees for National Assembly posts from the faction.

That list comprises of Andy Uba, Stella Oduah and Uche Ekwunife as senatorial candidates.
Both factions of the PDP held separate primaries, but INEC accepted the list from the Akobundu faction based on the verdict of the Appeal Court and recognition given to the faction by the National Secretariat of the PDP.
The Supreme Court, in its ruling, also re-affirmed the chairmanship of Oguebego as the authentic state chairman of the PDP in Anambra State.

By the unanimous verdict, the list of candidates nominated by Oguebego-led executive was the only one to be recognised by the INEC.

After the primary election of December 6 and 7, Messrs. Chris Uba, John Emeka and Annie Okonkwo emerged as the senatorial candidates for Anambra South, Central and North in the March 28,2015 general election.
Others, such as Anayo Nnebe, Obinna Chidoka, Lynda Ikpeazu, Emeka Anohu, Eucharia Azodo, Chris Azubogu, among others picked the ticket for the House of Representatives.

By the ruling, Ifenayi Uba and others had expected INEC to give them certificates of returns.