Emmanuel Onwubiko: Nwoko: Needless controversy on Delta North

The simply ended election appears to be like prefer it hasn’t ended going by the reverberation of pre and post-election petitions and litigation which have sprang up from all corners of the Nation.

As a Constitutional democracy, Nigerians are inspired to ventilate their angst by way of the due technique of the regulation as offered for by part 6 of the Structure of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 (as amended). That part states as follows: ” “.

It was in keeping with the tenets of the constitutional norms, {that a} important share of political workplace seekers who really feel strongly that they had been shortchanged by each their political events (pre-election) or the Impartial Nationwide Electoral Fee (INEC) (post-election) have decidedly proceeded to the courts of competent jurisdiction to hunt redress.

These approaches are to say the least acceptable, democratic, lawful and ennobling.

It was certainly within the pursuit of his constitutional proper to authorized redress that the Delta North-born Maritime lawyer and statesman prince Ned Munir Nwoko proceeded to the Federal Excessive Court docket Abuja division to hunt to retrieve what he believes is his mandate to characterize his senatorial zone within the coming ninth session of the senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

His most important political adversary is Mr. Peter Nwaobosi who’s the incumbent Senator and each of them are of the identical political household of Individuals’s Democratic Celebration (PDP).

Prince Ned Nwoko is satisfied past the shadows of doubts that he defeated Peter Nwabosi through the occasion major and subsequently was the candidate of the occasion which went forward to win the election.

It’s not as if Prince Ned Nwoko was marooned someplace within the snug cocoon of his imposing residence within the Central Space of Abuja and waited to ambush his political rivalry within the courtroom in order to retrieve the mandate. By no means. He fought laborious. He made investments and took sensible measures to persuade the voters that he’s the person of the folks.

He, Prince Ned Nwoko certainly actively campaigned in and round all elements of the Delta North Senatorial Constituency. His legendary marketing campaign actions had been documented methodically by mainstream media. As a flamboyant political tactician, he was lined by main tv homes while he campaigned for each himself, his occasion (PDP) and the governor. He visited and held conferences with each the wealthy, the poor and the downtrodden whereby he strenuously prayed them to vote for him to work as their servant chief within the ninth session of the Nationwide Meeting.

Prince Ned Nwoko is by no stretch of creativeness, a rookie or neophyte in politics by advantage of the apparent historic indisputable fact that when democracy returned in Nigeria within the yr 1999, he was amongst the primary units of pro-democracy campaigners who received elective seats to characterize his Federal Constituency for 4 high quality years.

In these 4 years, the then younger prince Ned Nwoko grew to become the cynosure of all eyes due to the politic nature of shows of payments and the qualitative attributes of these proposed legislations that he offered and vigorously sponsored. Throughout that epoch you couldn’t learn any newspapers with out seeing the reviews of his explosive shows earlier than the federal parliament. He was a parliamentarian of distinction and had no single boring moments. The president at the moment revered him for his erudition and braveness.

Ned Nwoko, thus has at all times remained a family model even after he briefly left politics to focus on his skilled profession as a maritime lawyer. So final yr when he signified his intentions to stage a comeback to nationwide politics his constituents welcomed him with open arms.

So when he ran for the senate slot for Delta North, he believed and hundreds of thousands of his supporters say that he certainly received the first which was awarded to Peter Nwabosi.

Nonetheless, Ned Nwoko saved the tempo of his grassroots campaigns up and operating at the same time as he proceeded to courtroom to say the ticket.

Based mostly on the unassailable proof tendered earlier than the judicial discussion board, the Federal Excessive consequently sacked consultant of Delta North Senatorial district, Peter Nwaoboshi as senator-elect, saying out there proof from Peoples Democratic Celebration (PDP) primaries confirmed that Ned Nwoko received.

The courtroom, subsequently, dominated that Nwoko was the genuine candidate of PDP for the 2019 senatorial election. Presiding Decide, Justice A.R. Mohammed delivered the judgment, which lasted for about two hours. He additionally ordered PDP and INEC to right away publish Nwoko’s title as PDP’s genuine candidate for scoring majority of votes forged within the major election for Delta North Senatorial district.

Justice Mohammed additionally ordered Peter Nwaobosi to henceforth cease parading himself as senator-elect. Dissecting all issues in rivalry, the decide argued that the onus lied on PDP and Nwaobosi as second and third defendants to show that Nwaobosi really received the primaries by producing the election supplies, however he refused to respect a courtroom order to supply the poll papers. He famous that evidences offered by the plaintiff proved that Nwoko received the PDP major election held on October 2, 2019, whereas sustaining that constitutional provisions had been adopted in submitting a substantive go well with in opposition to the primary, second and third defendants within the matter.

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Chatting with newsmen instantly after the judgement, lead counsel to Nwoko, Barrister Onyeka Nwaokolo described the ruling as a landmark judgment. “The summary of the matter is to tell politicians that manipulation of the electoral processes was no longer in vogue because winning election through dubious mean could always be quashed except cases not properly challenged,” he mentioned.

He affirmed that the second and third defendants overtly denied in courtroom that reveals tendered weren’t licensed true copies of the poll papers used for the primaries, even after they couldn’t produce some other evidences to show their case. “The judgment shows that there is hope for the common man. It is a landmark judgment, which has further deepened our democratic process,” he added. Nevertheless, Nwaoboshi’s counsel, Emmanuel Enoiden, who got here to courtroom with different legal professionals, declined feedback on the ruling. Not happy, Nwaobosi proceeded on enchantment. However for the reason that Nation is ruled by regulation, the Impartial Nationwide Electoral fee rightly obeyed the courtroom and awarded the certificates of return to Ned Nwoko. There’s nothing to indicate that any regulation was violated nor can anyone blame Prince Ned Nwoko for going to Court docket to hunt justifiable redress. Those that suppose in any other case are merely partaking in meaningless romanticism with illogicality. Nwaobosi is aware of the fuller import of the order directing INEC to acknowledge Ned Nwoko because the Senator elect which the electoral fee complied with. Peter Nwaobosi filed an enchantment.

The Abuja division of the Court docket of Attraction subsequently fastened yesterday to listen to the enchantment filed by senator-elect for Delta North Senatorial District and serving senator, Peter Nwaoboshi who’s difficult the nullification of his nomination as candidate of Individuals’s Democratic Celebration (PDP) by a Federal Excessive Court docket in Abuja.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal Excessive Court docket had in his judgment on a pre-election go well with introduced by Prince Ned Nwoko, nullified Nwaoboshi’s nomination, although he received the senatorial district’s election of February 23, 2019.

Dissatisfied, Nwaoboshi approached the Court docket of Attraction to put aside the judgment of the decrease courtroom which he claimed was delivered in error.

He’s additional contending that the trial decide overreached himself by deciding the go well with on the idea of extremely contradicted and conflicting proof, significantly because the poll papers upon which the trial decide primarily based his judgment had been critically controverted and poll counting was unattainable with out calling a witness.

In line with the discover of enchantment, the appellant is praying the appellate courtroom to carry that the trial decide erred in regulation when he held that the go well with was not caught by the 14 days rule in part 285(9) of the Fourth Alternation to the 1999 Structure (as amended), as the first election, material of the go well with, was performed on October 2, 2018 and the 14 days’ time allowed began operating on the identical October 2, 2018 when the first election occurred.

The appellant has additionally prayed the Court docket of Attraction to carry that the trial decide erred in regulation when he held that he had jurisdiction to entertain the go well with regardless of the identical being filed on December 11, 2018 as a result of the primary respondent had earlier filed a go well with earlier than the Excessive Court docket of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, which he withdrew and was struck out on December 11, 2018.

Particularly, because the mentioned go well with was caught by the identical 14 days rule in view of part 285(9) Fourth Alteration to the 1999 Structure (as amended) upon the submitting of a preliminary objection by the appellant.

The Court docket of Attraction in Abuja subsequently ordered Ned Nwoko to reply inside six days to the 2 appeals filed by the incumbent senator representing Delta North Senatorial District within the Nationwide Meeting, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi and Peoples Democratic Celebration (PDP).

The order was made following an utility for accelerated listening to of the 2 appeals filed by Nwaoboshi and the PDP in opposition to the choice of the Abuja division of the Federal Excessive Court docket, which nullified the emergence of Nwaoboshi as candidate of the PDP within the just lately concluded Nationwide Meeting election.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal Excessive Court docket had in a judgment delivered on April 3, 2019, nullified Senator Nwaoboshi’s nomination for the senatorial district’s election that was held on February 23, 2019.

Points raised by Nwaoboshi within the enchantment embody; whether or not the trial courtroom was proper when it held that this go well with filed on December 11, 2018, was not statute barred within the gentle of the 14 days allowed in Part 285 (9) of the Fourth Alteration to the Structure of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).

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“Whether or not the decrease courtroom was proper to have assumed jurisdiction on the bottom that the Plaintiff (Nwoko) had earlier filed Swimsuit No. CV/ 3086/18 on October 19, 2018, difficult the identical major election of October 2, 2018, earlier than the Excessive Court docket of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, which was withdrawn and struck out on December 10, 2018.

‘Whether the learned trial court would have arrived at the conclusions it reached and proceeded to grant Nwoko’s prayers contained in his originating summons in opposition to the appellant (Nwaoboshi) had it correctly evaluated the proof earlier than it, and had utilized the regulation accurately”.

Nwaoboshi is contending that the trial courtroom erred in regulation when it held that the 14 days’ time allowed by the structure stopped operating in view of Nwoko’s earlier motion on the subject material earlier than the Excessive Court docket of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja in Swimsuit CV/ 3086/18, which was withdrawn and struck out on December 10, 2018.

Nwaoboshi can also be contending that by the mentioned grounds the Swimsuit No. CV/ 3086/18, was itself statute barred because it was filed on 19th October 2018 exterior of the 14 days’ time allowed, including that it was not able to giving jurisdiction to the trial courtroom.

He additional mentioned that the situations precedent for the courtroom to train jurisdiction was not fulfilled, subsequently the go well with was lifeless on arrival for being statute barred.

Nwaobshi instructed the courtroom that opposite to the declare of the respondent he received the PDP major election of October 2, 2018, which was the difficulty complained of within the originating summons filed by Nwoko.

When the matter was referred to as on Tuesday, Senator Nwaoboshi’s lawyer Anthony Idigbe SAN knowledgeable the Court docket that that they had filed an utility to abridge time inside which the enchantment must be heard as a result of the respondent refused to answer the appellant briefs of argument.

He mentioned that the judgment being challenged was delivered on third April, 2019 and that by the constitutional provision the enchantment will expire on third June, 2019, subsequently the courtroom ought to restrict the time allowed for the respondent to answer 5 days.

Nwoko’ s lawyer, Ahmed Raji, SAN, didn’t oppose the applying however sought seven days to file his response. The Impartial Nationwide Electoral Fee (INEC) and Peoples Democratic Celebration (PDP’s) legal professionals, Anthony Onyere and Emmanuel Enoidem didn’t additionally oppose the applying.

In a brief ruling, presiding decide of the three-man panel of the Court docket of Attraction, Justice Adamu Jauro, adjourned until Could 22 for listening to of the enchantment and ordered Nwoko and INEC to file their responses inside the subsequent six days whereas Nwaoboshi has simply in the future to answer. Let me state once more that Ned Nwoko is true constitutionally to have requested the courtroom to pronounce him the Senator elect as a result of that’s in keeping with the rules of rule of regulation. The Decide on the Federal Excessive Court docket is a good and well-respected jurist. There isn’t a shreds of proof to indicate that there was any shady deal earlier than he reached the dedication of the matter instituted by Ned Nwoko. Any criticism not backed up empirically is at vest shallow and speculative.

Because of this the then chief of Justice of Nigeria, Dahiru Mustapha wrote; “Competence and diligence are prerequisites to the due performance of judicial office. The judicial duties of a judge take precedence over all other activities. A judge shall devote the judge’s professional activity to judicial duties, which include not only the performance of judicial functions and responsibilities in court and the making of decisions but also tasks relevant to the judicial office or the court’s operations. A judge knowledge, skills and personal qualities necessary for the proper performance of judicial duties, taking advantage for that purpose of the training and other facilities that should be made available. A judge shall keep himself or herself informed about relevant developments of international law, including international conventions and other instruments establishing human rights norms. A judge must perform all judicial duties, including the delivery of reserved decisions, efficiently, fairly and with reasonable promptness”.

“The competence and diligence of a judge in the performance of his duties is as important as his independence and impartiality. This is so because poor knowledge and understanding of legal principles could lead to miscarriages of justice. Delay in the writing of judicial decisions also impinges on integrity because justice delayed is justice denied”.

*Emmanuel Onwubiko heads Human Rights WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) [email protected],www.thenigerianinsidernews.com;www.huriwa.blogspot.com.

Updated: May 15, 2019 — 2:52 pm

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  2. Godswill Archibong

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