`It was a tumultuous Tuesday across the country especially the South-East State of Ebonyi, on March 8 2022, after a High Court Judge, Nyang Ekwo delivered judgement in a suit filed by the People’s Democratic Party, faulting the legality of the defection of Gov. Dave Umahi and his Deputy and praying the court to hold that the 390,000 votes with which they cruised to victory in the 2019 elections belonged to the People’s Democratic Party and accordingly, oust them from office for parting ways with the vehicle with which they rode to power.
Reacting to the development, erstwhile National Publicity Secretary of the defunct New People’s Democratic Party (nPDP) and chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, said the judgement with a habitual inclination of controversy represents an ill humor and marks a watershed in the annals of judicial precedence in Nigeria.
In a statement made available to media houses, Chief Eze emphasized that with the plethora of decided cases and floodgate of compelling legal opinions on the subject matter, one would have loved to see a situation where the Judge hinged his judgement on the pedestal of constitutional provisions and established judicial bounds, as would be expected, to allow for justice which is the constant preoccupation of the courts.
As a matter of fact and for clarity purposes, the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) is of great significance as it provides particularly in Section 40 thereof that: “Every person shall be entitled to… associate with other persons, and in particular… form or belong to any political party…for the protection of his interests.
The constitution further immune the President, Vice President, Governor and Deputy Governor against civil and criminal proceedings before any Court and by virtue of that immunity, the said suit is defective and ought to be thrown out in the first place in line practice directions.
Further, in a judgement delivered in a suit of similar nature filed by the People’s Democratic Party against Gov. Bello Mohammed Matawalle of Zamfara State, Justice Bappa Aliyu, of the Federal High Court held that Gov. Matawalle has the right to defect from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the constitution of both political parties as well as the nation’s 1999 Constitution, did not prohibit him.
Faulting the ruling of Justice Ekwo, which agreed with the opinion of the plaintiffs to the effect that the votes garnered by Gov. Umahi and his deputy at the 2019 polls belonged to the People’s Democratic Party, Eze made reference to the recent case of NWANKWO v. INEC where the court held that only a natural person and not a political party can be lawfully declared and returned as a winner in an election.
Similarly, in HARUNA V APC, the Court of Appeal particularly held that “…parties do not contest, win or lose election directly.”
The court went further to hold that before a person can be returned as elected, that person must have participated in all the states of the election starting from primary to the main election.
There are several other cases which decision clearly condemns the path of Justice Ekwo, who has clearly erred in his decision.
Though not a Lawyer, Eze said it is shrouded in mystery where Ekwo derived the powers to give a judgement that puts the justiciary in disrepute because according to him, neither the Constitution which is the fons et origo, nor judicial precedents justify his judgement against Gov. Umahi and the All Progressives Congress.
Describing the judgement as grossly defective and a total travesty of justice, Eze called on the good people of Ebonyi to remain calm, assuring that Nyang Ekwo’s judgement lacks the fiber to withstand the litmus test of justice when called to question before the Court of Appeal.
The party chief called on the People’s Democratic Party and their co-purveyors of bad intentions to desist from actions capable of fretting the minds of Ebonyians and throwing up panic in the peaceful state, insisting that the people to whom sovereignty belongs are very much comfortable with Engr. Umahi as their Chief Servant.
Eze commended Chief Robert Clarke, SAN, Chief Mike Agbedor Abu Ozekhome, SAN and other great legal icons for always standing on the side of the truth. How they decapitated the judgment of Justice Ekwo of the Federal High Court Abuja describing it as a judgement not known to contemporary jurisprudence and judgment done in abuse of court process and without jurisdiction is very commendable.
The truth of the matter is that PDP has by this regrettable action made the judgement of Ekwo against Governor Umahi the most condemned judgement in the history of the world. Governor Umahi is now a celebrity in the world’s legal history.
He commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for acting according to law by ignoring those nominated by the PDP to replace Governor Umahi and his deputy.
Eze described the very ungodly utterances and Insinuations peddled against Gov. Umahi by his schoolmate and friend, Comrade Abia Anyuike as utterly unfortunate. For a citizen of Ebonyi who was an instrument through which Gov. Umahi came to power to make such unprintable and ungodly statements against Governor Umahi is totally unacceptable, condemnable and unfortunate.
Ebonyi people are not stupid to buy into such misdirected falsehood.
“For him to state that all the projects initiated and completed by this administration including the Ecumenical Centre, the biggest shopping mal in Africal, the new Government House and seventeen flyovers of which some are the tallest in Nigeria all aimed at improving the infrastructural status of the State are totally useless is to me a statement coming from a misguided and confused mind. We must not play politics with such a dirty mind if we are to develop this country and I expect a statesman like Abia Anyuike to be choosey in his words when speaking through a national television like Arise TV.”
Those spreading fake news about Police and army occupying the Government House and that Umahi is threatening APC are merely displaying their stack ignorance of the situation on ground in Ebonyi.
The party chieftain called on the CJN, the National Judicial Council (NJC) and other relevant bodies to rise up to their responsibilities and sanitize the Nigerian judicial system by striving to curb the activities of some judges whose judgements are almost always contrary to established law and the norms of the Bench, maintaining that, it is strange and in fact, scary for a High Court to rule on a matter that has been decided by another Court of coordinate jurisdiction or to overrule the Supreme Court on the same subject.
He commended Gov. Dave Umahi and the All Progressives Congress, for quickly exploring the windows of appeal by expressing total dissatisfaction with Ekwo’s draconian judgement before the Appellate Court, noting that the coup targeted at plunging the state into crisis and embarrassing the APC will definitely not hold water as the higher Court will restore the status of the judiciary as the hope of the common people.
He counsels those who are hungry to become Governor without contesting any election to go and bury their ugly faces in shame.