Deji Elumoye in Abuja
A member of the National Assembly, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, has approached the Court of Appeal to set aside the ruling of an Abuja high court which removed him as a Senator.
Ubah, the Young Peoples Party (YPP) Senator representing Anambra South, in a four-page statement issued on Saturday by his media aide, Adichie Izuchukwu, said he was also approaching the Appealate court over the refusal of the same court presided over by Justice Bello Kawu on Friday to set aside its earlier judgement of April 11, 2019 sacking him as a federal lawmaker.
According to him, “Senator Ubah has appealed against the judge’s refusal to set aside the judgment of 11th April, 2019 granted to a co-defendant and also filed a motion for injunction to stay the judgment of the FCT High Court (Bwari division), pending the determination of the Appeal at the Appellate Court. All relevant parties including INEC have been served. We have absolute confidence that justice will be served by the Court of Appeal”.
He also noted that the judgment of the FCT High Court delivered in April 2019 is contrary to the Court of Appeal’s judgment which was delivered in Senator Ifeanyi Ubah’s favour on the 29th of October, 2019, months after that of the of FCT High Court.
The Senator’s aide further noted that the Court of Appeal is higher in hierarchy and that their decisions cannot be overturned or rendered ineffectual by the FCT High Court being a lower court of record.
Tracing the pre-election matter which culminated in the high court ruling of April 2019, Izuchukwu claimed the suit was filed by Anani Cletus with Obinna Uzoh applying to be joined as a defendant in the case against the election of Senator Uba who was never served any Court papers before the court ruling in April, 2019.
The court ruling, he stated, was in flagrant disregard for the fundamental rights of his principal, Senator Ubah, to fair hearing as entrenched in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended).
“This action by the Court was in breach of Senator Ubah’s right to fair hearing as guaranteed by Section 36 of the Nigerian Constitution, as amended, and the FCT High Court civil procedure rules. The Court in a ruling delivered on the 1st of April 2019, joined Obinna Uzoh without Senator Ubah being served processes and hearing notices by the court as shown in the proofs of service in the Court’s file. In essence, the filing, hearing, ruling of the application for joinder of Obinna Uzoh was done within five days without Senator Ubah’s presence and that of his party, YPP. These underarm tactics applied by Obinna Uzoh and approved by the Court against Senator Ifeanyi Ubah offends all notions of fairness, justice and fair play.”
He also faulted the action of the Federal High Court sitting in Bwari division of Abuja saying it has no locus standi to entertain the matter.
His words: “The FCT High Court has no territorial jurisdiction to hear the matter as the matter and course of action arose from the Anambra South Senatorial Primary election of the Young Progressives Party (YPP). As such, the FCT High Court lacks the territorial jurisdiction to hear the matter. The mischief of filing and joining the case in Abuja as against Anambra state was to ensure that the defendant and even Chris Uba, the candidate of the PDP were not aware of the proceedings. Infact, Chris Uba filed an application asking the court to be joined in the matter as he is the authentic candidate of the PDP as confirmed and published by INEC. Again, the Judge struck out his motion for joinder out.
Obinna Uzoh was not a claimant or counterclaimant in the matter.
“Despite this fact, the judge went ahead to grant him reliefs sought in his lawyer’s final written address; an action that is contrary to the provisions of the law which says that the court cannot grant a person or party reliefs not sought and a defendant cannot have reliefs before a court unless he/she is also a counter claimant as the court is not a Father Christmas. The Court declared Obinna Uzoh as the winner of the election contrary to Section 285(13) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, 4th alteration, as amended, which provides that the Court cannot declare any person who did not participate in all the stages of an election as the winner. Obinna Uzoh did not participate in the elections as it was Chris Uba that participated under the platform of the PDP and was duly announced by INEC as the 1st runner up”, Senator Ubah’s aide stated.