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Obey Supreme Court order, lawyer tells INEC

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The Independent National Electoral Commission has again been urged to obey the January 29, 2016 Supreme Court judgment that set aside the order of the Court of Appeal which led to the removal of the list of candidates submitted by the Anambra State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) before the 2015 general election.
Wondering why INEC could not obey the court’s judgment, Chief Chris Uche, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said the ruling of the Supreme Court cleared the way for them to benefit from the judgment delivered on January 29th 2016.

Uche said that when the Federal High Court gave ruling on the issue, INEC complied immediately without seeking clarification and that when the court of appeal over turned the decision of the federal high court, the same electoral body complied with the appellate court decision without seeking for any clarification.

“I am surprised that the same INEC has found it difficult to act on the Supreme Court decision of January 29 the way it acted on the decisions of the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal.”
Meanwhile, still not satisfied with the recent Supreme Court’s position on the matter, Chris Uba’s faction has again approached INEC, demanding Certificates of Return to the National Assembly. The Court, through Justice John I. Okoro had ruled that the Supreme Court lacked jurisdiction to review its own judgment going by its rules and the provisions of the Constitution and consequently struck out the application seeking for clarification of its earlier judgment.

In a strong worded letter to INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, the Chris Uba’s faction maintained that there was no court order upon which the membership of Andy Uba, Stella Oduah and others in the National Assembly can be sustained.

INEC had claimed that the January 29 judgment was confusing and decided to approach the court for clarifications but the court frowned at the decision, saying that the judgment does not need any interpretation because it was clear and unambiguous.

INEC had never denied the fact that it removed the names of candidates sent to it by the recognised PDP leadership in Anambra state because of the judgment of the Court of Appeal which judgment has now been set aside by the Supreme Court.

He argued that if the judgment upon which INEC based its decision has been set aside then the candidates elected on that list automatically fall with the judgment.

In refusing to review the judgment, the apex court said its rules and the provisions of the constitution forbid it from reviewing its judgment.

It also said it lacked the jurisdiction to review its own judgment.

The court held that the judgment by its ordinary meaning did not need to be subjected to any clarification. The court also held that Order 8, Rule 16 of the Supreme Court expressly stated that the court could not review its judgment once given except there was a clerical mistake or slip which in this case never happened The action sought would amount to rewriting the judgment and giving order where nothing had been shown that there was a clerical mistake In the judgment, court added.

But INEC was blamed for seeking for clarification in a judgment that needed no clarification.

Justice H.A. Ngajiwa of the Federal High Court had ealier in a judgment in the suit, FHC/PH/CS/247/2013 (now FHC/AWK/CS/247/2013), delivered on September 12, 2013, affirmed Oguebego and members of his team as constituting the authentic executive committee of the PDP in Anambra directing INEC and PDP to only deal with the Oguebego led executive.

Despite the order of the Federal High Court, PDP went ahead to set up a caretaker committee that organised the primary election that submitted the list containing the names of Senator Uche Ekwunife who was sacked by the Court of Appeal, for not been a product of a valid primary election, Senator Stella Oduah, Senator Andy Uba and others.



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