Court stops INEC, Senate from enforcing judgment sacking Ifeanyi Ubah

NEWS DIGEST–The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Thursday, stopped the Independent National Electoral Commission and others from giving effect to the April 11, 2019 judgment of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory ousting Ifeanyi Ubah as the Senator representing Anambra South.

The FCT High Court judge, Justice Bello Kawu, in a ruling, on January 17, 2019, declined Ubah’s request to set aside the earlier order issued in the April 11, 2019 judgment.

Justice Kawu had in the judgment sacked Ubah for allegedly submitting a forged National Examination Council certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission in support of his nomination as a candidate for the February 23, 2019, senatorial election.

The judge had also ordered INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to the YPP candidate.

He also directed that a fresh one be issued to Obinna Uzoh of the Peoples Democratic Party, who came second in the election.

But delivering judgment in another suit filed by Ubah at the Federal High Court in Abuja, Justice Taiwo Taiwo stopped INEC from issuing a Certificate of Return to Obinna Uzor which the FCT High Court ordered as Ubah’s replacement.

The judge, in upholding the contention by Ubah’s lawyer, Charles Ndukwe, held that INEC and other defendants could not proceed to comply with the order of the FCT High Court in defiance to the subsisting judgments of the National Assembly Elections Tribunal and the Court of Appeal which had affirmed Ubah’s election.

The judge, who cited sections 246(3), 285(2), of the Constitution, held that the Court of Appeal was the final court on issues pertaining to the declaration of Ubah as the winner of the senatorial election.

He restrained the defendants from complying with the judgment of the FCT High Court in Suit No CV/3044/18, which he held was defiant to the subsisting judgment of the Elections Petitions Tribunal No. EP/AN/SEN/11/2019, and affirmed by the Court of Appeal in appeal No. CA/E/EAPP/20/2019.

Justice Taiwo added that INEC and the other defendants in the suit, INEC, the Clerk of the National Assembly, the Clerk of the Senate and Obinna Uzor, were bound to comply with the latter judgment of the Election Petitions Tribunal and Court of Appeal delivered on September 9, 2019, and October 29, 2019, respectively affirming Ubah’s election.

The judge declared among others that “the 1st defendant (INEC) has no vires to ignore the post-election judgment of the election tribunal in petition No. EPT/AN/SEN/20/2019- Uba Christian C. VS INEC and 10 others in preference for the post-election judgment of the FCT High Court in suit No. CV/3044/18”.

It also issued an order “directing the defendants to obey and give effect to the judgment of the Court of Appeal delivered in appeal No. CA/E/EAPP/20/2019, Uba Christian C. VS. INEC and 10 others and affirming the plaintiff as the winner of the election conducted for the Anambra South Senatorial district conducted on February 23, 2019”.