You’re busybodies, S’Court lashes at Abaribe, Nwagbara over Abia PDP primaries suit *Slams N2million fine
For being meddlesome interlopers and busybodies, the Supreme Court of on Thursday, slammed a N2million fine on Ndudi Nwagbara, Onyekachi Abaribe and 5 others after dismissing a case against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Okezie Ikpeazu, Governor of Abia State over last year’s governorship primaries of the ruling party in the state.
An angry apex court, came out smoking, scolding the lawyers to the politicians who had travelled all the way from the Federal High Court, through the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court, with a suit it found not only frivolous but vexatious and a waste of its time.
It was a case that started from the Federal High Court Umuahia, where the plaintiffs, though not members of the PDP, went to challenge the outcome of the primaries that produced the Uchenna Ikonne, who was also joined in the suit alongside 35 others, as the governorship candidate of the party for the March 11 election.
They had pleaded which started the court in the suit no FHC/UM/CS/62/22 and ended at the apex court as SC/CV/143/2023 for the nullification of the outcome of the primaries conducted on May 25, 2022.
The journey had commenced at the Federal High Court, Umuahia which threw it out before proceeding to the appellate court where it suffered the same fate, before landing at the apex court, where a panel of seven justices finally nailed it.
At each stage, the verdict was that they were not qualified to bring the matter because they were not aspirants as described in the electoral Act 2022 and therefore lacked the locus standi to bring the action, even though they claimed to have bought forms to contest.
But, it was at the Supreme Court, which they approached after the appellate court sitting in Owerri, in January 2023, upheld the judgement of the trial court’s verdict, that received a more damning hammer, for even bringing the case that far in the first place, as the justices, not only dismissed it as a rubbish that ought not to have come to them, having lacked the jurisdiction to entertain it.
Led by Justice John Okoro, the apex court had asked Chukwuma Wachukwu Ume (SAN), lawyer to the appellants to withdraw the appeal, after which the matter was promptly dismissed with tonguelashing before a fine of ₦2million in favour of the respondents.
For emphasis, the court ordered that the fine must be paid personally by Ume “for filling a frivolous and vexatious appeal.”
In a related development, they also filed a motion seeking to substitute Chief Okey Ahaiwe, who is the PDP gubernatorial candidate in Abia State with late Prof Ikonne, which was opposed vehemently that Chief Ahiwe was not a product of the first PDP primary election that produced Ikonne but a product of a different primary election and stands on his own.
PDP lawyers, explained that the implication of the judgement is that there is no legal impediment for any of the governorship, National Assembly and state assembly candidates of the PDP, adding that the hope of the opposition that the said congress and primaries would be cancelled so that PDP will have no candidate in the 2023 general elections as it happened in Rivers and Zamfara States in 2015, had backfired.
Emeka Eze represented Chief Okey Ahiwe(Party seeking to be joined, Dr Livy Uzochukwu, SAN for PDP, H Balogu for the Governor, Okey Amaechi, SAN for Ikuku, Ukpai Ukairo for Senator Mao, Dr Hagler for Erondu Jnr and Others.
The Apex Court dismissed case which is believed to have been instituted through proxies by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, who left the PDP and also withdrew from the 2022 primaries when it was clear that he was not the favored aspirant of the stakeholders in Abia PDP. He later joined APGA to contest 2023 Abia South senatorial election against Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.
BREAKING: Our witness never accused Obi of rigging Anambra election – PDP
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Thursday pooh-poohed the report that Ndubusi Nwobu, one of its witnesses at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT), claimed that Peter Obi and the Labour Party (LP) rigged the 2023 presidential election in Anambra State, saying nothing could be farther from the truth, as no such claim was ever made.
The party which said at no time did it change its position that the LP won the election in the state, described the twist given to its evidence in court as an attempt to discredit the personality of Nwobu.
Uloka Chibuike, spokesman of the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Committee Anambra State, in a statement, warned Nigerians to be wary of the the antics of those who peddled fake news, adding that bloggers must also be careful about the type of stories they ran with, given the tendency of some people for mischief.
The statement, read: “The attention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Committee in Anambra State has been drawn to a publication in the public space where the purveyors of fake news alleged that Chief Ndubisi Nwobu claimed that Peter Obi rigged the presidential election in Anambra State at the ongoing Presidential Election Petition Court.
“This is not only falsehood, wickedness, and devilishness, but also a deliberate attempt by a few innuendos to discredit and blackmail Chief Nwobu’s person.
We wish to state unequivocally and for the record that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) did not file a petition against the Labour Party, nor did the PDP name the Labour Party as a respondent in her suits at the ongoing Presidential Election Petition Court; rather, our petitions are against the All Progressives Congress Party (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“Chief Ndubisi Nwobu was at the Tribunal on the 7th day of June, 2023, as the 11th witness of HE, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, GCON, and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to testify against INEC’s refusal to adhere to its own election guidelines, which state that polling unit results are to be electronically transmitted with the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) directly and in real-time to the IREV portal.
“Chief Ndubisi Nwobu did not, by any means or disguise, state that Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, ‘rigged’ the presidential election in Anambra State or anywhere else. The Tribunal went further to ask Chief Nwobu who won the election in Anambra State; he responded explicitly that the Labour Party won the presidential election in the state and that his party is not in court with the Labour Party but with INEC, having reneged on her own guidelines.
“While we call on unsuspecting members of the public to kindly disregard the fake news that Chief Ndubisi Nwobu accused Peter Obi of rigging the presidential elections in Anambra State, we also wish to warn online bloggers against patronising stories with sensational headlines without proper investigations, as expected by journalists and all news merchants.
“The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Atiku Abubakar, GCON, its presidential candidate, are determined to present all evidence against INEC and the All Progressives Congress Party to convince the Presidential Election Petition Court that the mandate willingly given to Atiku Abubakar by the majority of Nigerians was wrongly appropriated and that such matters must be addressed to retrieve the mandate from the APC. Those wishing to divert attention, frame and defame innocent individuals should desist or face the consequences of their actions.”
INEC, Yakubu should be recognised for breaking world record with 2023 election – Okonkwo
Kenthe Okonkwo, spokesperson of the Labour Party (LP) and Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council (ODPCC), in the 2023 election has given a new title to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of the worst electoral body in the world.
Okonkwo a renowned actor and lawyer, currently in the legal team of Obi and the LP, at the Court of Appeal Abuja, presently sitting as the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT), hearing petitions against the declaration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as winner of the February 25 presidential election, came to the conclusion against the backdrop of the outcomes of the proceedings in court.
He was particularly scandalised that INEC is attempting deny documents it was said to have issued to Obi and LP, one of the three petitioners challenging Tinubu’s victory, even as he has since been inaugurated as the 16th President of Nigeria and already working in the capacity of Nigerian first citizen.
Using his known Twitter handle, Okonkwo, who regularly gives update on the proceedings in court, wrote: “We are back today again at the Presidential Election Petition Court (COA) for the continuation of our Petition. “I can confidently say that INEC, under Prof Yakubu Mahmood, has broken the Guinness world record as the worst electoral commission on planet earth. How can INEC stand up in court to say, “Mi Lord, I object to the tendering of INEC’S certified true copies of the election results.
“This institution is becoming an international embarrassment to Nigeria. I have never seen where an organisation, which by law ought to be neutral, is shamelessly objecting to its own documents, just to please some quarters. Well, God is in control and we put our trust in Him.”
Now that Labour has been defeated!
The little hope Nigerians had about any form of respite from the vice grip of a merciless cabal operating in the country as a government, has finally evaporated. Early in the evening of Monday, June 5, 2023, news filtered in that the strike action called by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the concomitant protests thereof to challenge the sudden hike in the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, had been called off.
By later that night, the news was confirmed by Femi Gbajabiamila, Chief of Staff (CoS) to President Bola Tinubu, who went on to reveal, what he said was a set of agreements entered into by the NLC, which was joined by the Trade Union Congress (TUC), which was previously absent, but had to rush in later that evening.
In fact, there was a kind of uncanny drama that followed the entire sequence to Monday’s meeting. On Sunday, June 4, the TUC was at the same meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, with the NLC vehemently denouncing the parley. In fact at the time the Sunday meeting was going on, Joe Ajaero, NLC President, was on Arise Television, swearing before his host that the main workers’ union would not return to the table for talks with anybody on the subsidy matter until the old prices were reverted to.
Then, on Monday, it was the turn of the TUC to be absent. Nobody knew why. Festus Osifo, the President, had told reporters after the Sunday meeting as leader of his team that the union for the senior staff in the public service, had also handed down a set of demands to the government, among which was a reversion to the old price and to be followed by a proposal for increase in the wages of workers.
It would take some keen, discerning observer to see something strange in the behaviour of the labour leaders or at least suspect that much. But the meaning might not register quickly for the uninitiated or a non-follower of the activities of labour unions in the recent past. An smart follower, would have discover the pattern long before the drama got on the way proper.
What is more, a casual glance would expose labour more as an accomplice in the handing of Nigerians the short end of the stick, over the decades, since the end of the era of the genuine leaders actually fought with their full chest out for the welfare of workers and the ordinary man in the Nigerian street.
As much as 1993, during the June 12 struggle, Nigerians who had relied on the same labour to retrieve their mandate, which was handed to the late Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (MKO), Abiola, suddenly discovered that they were clutching on mere straws when the NLC under the late Paschal Bafyau, dumped the agitation and practically went into bed with the military government at that time, including Sani Abacha, arguably the most despotic leader ever witnessed in Nigeria.
Since then, others after that era in upping the ante, established a certain pattern, which became emblematic of the Adams Oshiomhole era. It took a dimension in hoodwinking Nigerians to believe that the solidarity songs, the street protests and the sit-at-homes initiated were for them, when indeed, they were actually some well-choreographed activities to ride on their backs to feather their own nests.
Figure out the Oshimhole of those days and the one who now lives in a mansion said to be one of the wonders of Nigeria – built on a vast acreage of land with with artificial lake and swimming pool on the rooftop, to understand your true standing with those who have since taken over where he stopped.
It is even instructive that we’ve started hearing about strikes again in the period of Ajaero and Tinubu. During the eight-year period of President Muhammadu Buhari, when Ayuba Wabba, was in charge, the word seemed to have disappeared. That was why the government got away from blue murder with the way it related to Nigerians.
For all it is worth the said meeting said it agreed to establish a joint committee to review the proposal for “any wage increase or award and establish a framework and timeline for implementation,” and for the federal government, the TUC and the NLC to review the World Bank-financed cash transfer scheme and propose the inclusion of low-income earners in the programme.
It was also agreed that the federal government and organised labour would revive the Condensed Natural Gas (CNG) conversion programme earlier agreed with Labor centres in 2021 and work out detailed implementation and timing and to review issues hindering effective delivery in the education sector and propose solutions for implementation as well as look into and establish the framework for completion of the rehabilitation of the nation’s refineries, as well as for the federal government to provide a framework for the maintenance of roads and the expansion of rail networks across the country.
Now try and make sense out of it if you could. But even an imbecile knows that this is clearly an obvious joke. For all you know the same people who came out with the funny document they call agreement, would be on the issue of a new minimum wage for the next two years at the end of which they may come out with an addition of a paltry N10,000 extra to up it from the current N30,000.
They could not even push to reduce the PMS price by a kobo as the Oshiomholes used to do, when they would sneak in at night to fix the price with the government, come out in the morning to shout, then return in the afternoon to “negotiate” and in the evening, announce the actual figure they had already known all along.
No, even that drama that served as some kind of elixir and a balm to soothe the wounds of Nigerians, has also become a sort of luxury. What about the talk about local refineries? That demand too, which the NLC and TUC insisted as a sine qua non, and condition precedent for the removal of the so-called subsidy, has obviously died a natural death.
But wait for it. In the next few weeks when the appointments would start in earnest, check what the lucky ones would go home with. Of course by now, orders must have been placed for the latest makes of brand new vehicles that would roll out of factories in Japan or Europe – the real guzzlers of the nation’s resources.
Watch as each of the would-be ministers are escorted home with at least five of such vehicles, fuelled, of course at the expenses of the same government that has no money. Watch the sudden transformation that would come to them and their family members.
Watch as the other appointees and those close to the corridors of power spend money as if it is going out of fashion. Nobody would remember subsidy then. Nobody would tell you that government is broke.
That is when you realise that the Nigeria they envisage is not for you. If by now you have not realised what ‘state capture’ is all about, watch what would happen in the coming months and years. Nigeria is permanently cornered in such a way that citizens have nowhere to run.
You’ve seen how the judiciary has been used to stop the proposed strike even before it took off. Do you go to the street for protest? The same police and army, who have been complaining more than you about the hardship in the land, would all be too glad to shoot you, because that is the only means of letting off some pent-up anger or assuage the feeling of self-importance.
The media? Deadend as well. The last few days, would have shown that that road has been sealed as well, because either by default or deliberately, or for obvious reason, that road seems closed. The same media that are supposed to ask critical questions seem sold on the single story. If all you hear now even from such a critical sector that ought to be the last hope of the common man is that subsidy is a taboo, where else would you go?
So, in the end, it is what it is. Millions of Nigerians will suffer, millions more will die – of hunger, of disease, of suicide. Tragedy.
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