Anambra 2021: PDP drags judge before NJC, state CJ for ‘disappearing with case file’

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has appealed to the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the Chief Judge of Anambra State to compel Justice Obiorah Nwabunike of the High Court in Awka before to release the case file on Senator Ugochukwu UBA Vs PDP & Ors.

The party accused the judge of plotting to ‘derail the course of justice by making away with the case file in a desperate bid to frustrate an appeal against his judgment on PDP Anambra state governorship primary election.’

Justice Nwabunike of the High Court sitting in Awka, Anambra State, Monday had ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to publish the name of Senator Ugochukwu Uba as the rightful Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the November 6th Anambra governorship election.

Justice Nwabunike also awarded N10 million cost against the PDP.

The INEC had last week published the names of candidates of political parties participating in the forthcoming election, with the candidate of the PDP missing, following the crisis engulfing the party that has snowballed into several court cases.

Uche Secondus National Chairman PDP

Following the INEC decision, Senator Ugochukwu Uba had gone to court asking it to direct the Commission to publish his name as the rightful candidate for the PDP.

Uba asked the court to determine which PDP governorship primary was authentic, between the one held on June 26, 2021 at the Paul University Awka that produced him and the one by a faction at the Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre which produced Valentine Ozigbo.

Uba also prayed the court to declare that the primary election held by a faction of the PDP which produced Ozigbo was illegal; and that the court should order INEC to publish his name as the PDP governorship candidate and compel the commission to recognise him as validly elected candidate of the party for the forthcoming election.

Justice Nwabunike in his ruling held that the faction that conducted its primary election at Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre did not obey court order.

The Court said the faction rather than forward names of delegates to INEC for primary election, used Super Delegates contrary to the judgment of Federal High Court.

The court also emphasized the need for obedience to court order until it is upturned or a stay is obtained.

“With the evidence before me and having heard from parties involved in the matter, I rule that Ugochukwu Uba is the duly elected candidate of PDP.

“It’s not for nothing that court judges are called my lords. When a court makes a pronouncement, it must be obeyed no matter how foolish or ugly, it must be obeyed.

“So, it was wrong for the PDP to go ahead to conduct the primary election at the Dora Akunyili Women’s Development Centre that produced Valentine Ozigbo, with what they called super delegates against a live judgment of a court without overturning the judgment.

“That action cannot be vitiated or mitigated by the argument adduced by defence counsel that party primaries are internal affairs of political parties.

“And I order that Ugochukwu Uba’s name should be enlisted by the INEC without further delay and the defendants should pay a cost of 10 million naira to the applicant,” Justice Nwabunike said.

Meanwhile, another Federal High Court sitting in Awka also, had same Monday, also ordered INEC to publish the name of Mr Valentine Ozigbo as candidate of the PDP for the November 6 Anambra state governorship election.

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However, reacting to the fallout of events surrounding the ruling, the PDP, in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, Tuesday, charged Justice Nwabunike to ‘immediately release the case file, as the compromises in the case are already known to the public, especially the people of Anambra state.’

According to the main opposition party, ‘the only reason Justice Nwabunike disappeared with the case file and refused to make copies of his judgment available to the PDP and its candidate, Valentine Ozigbo, is because he (Justice Nwabunike) is aware that his perverted judgement cannot stand in any appeal.’

“The PDP recalled that on July 5, 2021, an aspirant, Senator Ugochukwu Uba, who did not participate in the PDP primary, instituted a suit against the PDP, our candidate, Valentine Ozigbo and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), wherein he challenged Ozigbo’s candidature for the November 6, 2021 governorship election.

“Barely 24 hours after Senator Uba instituted the suit, Justice Nwabunike curiously granted an ex parte injunction restraining INEC from carrying out their constitutional duty and also abridged the time within which the Defendants are legally obliged to file their defence from 42 days to only 3 days in violation of Order 16 Rule 1(2) of the Anambra State High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2019.

“Despite the obvious hardship created by this strange ex parte order, the judge, on the day of hearing, being the 16th of July 2021, denied the defendants time to respond to the processes served on them and proceeded with the hearing of the Plaintiff’s case.

“Regardless of the 180 days provided by the constitution for the hearing and determination of pre-election matters, the Honorable Court hastily concluded proceedings and delivered judgment within 14 days.

“The most unfortunate part of this episode is that the judge, after hastily delivering the Judgment, made away with the case file and refused to release copies of his judgment to the defendants despite their application in the open Court as well as the officially written application to the judge.

“However, to the chagrin of the Defendants, the Court has gone ahead to issue copies of the Judgment to the plaintiff, Senator Uba.

“Moreover, the trial judge has been making every effort to frustrate the notices of appeal filed by the PDP and her candidate, Valentine Ozigbo,” PDP.

The party further noted that ‘the reason Justice Nwabunike is employing these legal shenanigans is to frustrate the Defendants’ Appeal against his judgment, which was aimed to assist an individual who did not participate in our primary to distract our party ahead of this crucial election.’

“We therefore call on the Chief Judge of Anambra State, Honorable Justice O.M Anyachebelu and the National Judicial Council (NJC) to quickly call Justice O.A Nwabunike to order as there must be an end to judicial rascality.

“Justice Nwabunike must be made to release the case file as well as the copies of the judgment because his continued refusal is capable of pitching the Judiciary against the people of Anambra, whose mandate, as being expressed in our candidate, Valentine Ozigbo, is being undermined by Justice Nwabunike,” PDP said.

Anambra 2021: PDP drags judge before NJC, state CJ for ‘disappearing with case file’

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has petitioned Justice Obiorah Nwabunike of the High Court in Awka before the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the Chief Judge of Anambra State to compel him to release the case file on Senator Ugochukwu UBA Vs PDP & Ors.

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The party accused the judge of plotting to ‘derail the course of justice by making away with the case file in a desperate bid to frustrate an appeal against his judgment on PDP Anambra state governorship primary election.’

Justice Nwabunike of the High Court sitting in Awka, Anambra State, Monday had ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to publish the name of Senator Ugochukwu Uba as the rightful Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the November 6th Anambra governorship election.

Justice Nwabunike also awarded N10 million cost against the PDP.

The INEC had last week published the names of candidates of political parties participating in the forthcoming election, with the candidate of the PDP missing, following the crisis engulfing the party that has snowballed into several court cases.

Following the INEC decision, Senator Ugochukwu Uba had gone to court asking it to direct the Commission to publish his name as the rightful candidate for the PDP.

Uba asked the court to determine which PDP governorship primary was authentic, between the one held on June 26, 2021 at the Paul University Awka that produced him and the one by a faction at the Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre which produced Valentine Ozigbo.

Uba also prayed the court to declare that the primary election held by a faction of the PDP which produced Ozigbo was illegal; and that the court should order INEC to publish his name as the PDP governorship candidate and compel the commission to recognise him as validly elected candidate of the party for the forthcoming election.

Justice Nwabunike in his ruling held that the faction that conducted its primary election at Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre did not obey court order.

The Court said the faction rather than forward names of delegates to INEC for primary election, used Super Delegates contrary to the judgment of Federal High Court.

The court also emphasized the need for obedience to court order until it is upturned or a stay is obtained.

“With the evidence before me and having heard from parties involved in the matter, I rule that Ugochukwu Uba is the duly elected candidate of PDP.

“It’s not for nothing that court judges are called my lords. When a court makes a pronouncement, it must be obeyed no matter how foolish or ugly, it must be obeyed.

“So, it was wrong for the PDP to go ahead to conduct the primary election at the Dora Akunyili Women’s Development Centre that produced Valentine Ozigbo, with what they called super delegates against a live judgment of a court without overturning the judgment.

“That action cannot be vitiated or mitigated by the argument adduced by defence counsel that party primaries are internal affairs of political parties.

“And I order that Ugochukwu Uba’s name should be enlisted by the INEC without further delay and the defendants should pay a cost of 10 million naira to the applicant,” Justice Nwabunike said.

Meanwhile, another Federal High Court sitting in Awka also, had same Monday, also ordered INEC to publish the name of Mr Valentine Ozigbo as candidate of the PDP for the November 6 Anambra state governorship election.

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However, reacting to the fallout of events surrounding the ruling, the PDP, in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, Tuesday, charged Justice Nwabunike to ‘immediately release the case file, as the compromises in the case are already known to the public, especially the people of Anambra state.’

According to the main opposition party, ‘the only reason Justice Nwabunike disappeared with the case file and refused to make copies of his judgment available to the PDP and its candidate, Valentine Ozigbo, is because he (Justice Nwabunike) is aware that his perverted judgement cannot stand in any appeal.’

“The PDP recalled that on July 5, 2021, an aspirant, Senator Ugochukwu Uba, who did not participate in the PDP primary, instituted a suit against the PDP, our candidate, Valentine Ozigbo and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), wherein he challenged Ozigbo’s candidature for the November 6, 2021 governorship election.

“Barely 24 hours after Senator Uba instituted the suit, Justice Nwabunike curiously granted an ex parte injunction restraining INEC from carrying out their constitutional duty and also abridged the time within which the Defendants are legally obliged to file their defence from 42 days to only 3 days in violation of Order 16 Rule 1(2) of the Anambra State High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2019.

“Despite the obvious hardship created by this strange ex parte order, the judge, on the day of hearing, being the 16th of July 2021, denied the defendants time to respond to the processes served on them and proceeded with the hearing of the Plaintiff’s case.

“Regardless of the 180 days provided by the constitution for the hearing and determination of pre-election matters, the Honorable Court hastily concluded proceedings and delivered judgment within 14 days.

“The most unfortunate part of this episode is that the judge, after hastily delivering the Judgment, made away with the case file and refused to release copies of his judgment to the defendants despite their application in the open Court as well as the officially written application to the judge.

“However, to the chagrin of the Defendants, the Court has gone ahead to issue copies of the Judgment to the plaintiff, Senator Uba.

“Moreover, the trial judge has been making every effort to frustrate the notices of appeal filed by the PDP and her candidate, Valentine Ozigbo,” PDP.

The party further noted that ‘the reason Justice Nwabunike is employing these legal shenanigans is to frustrate the Defendants’ Appeal against his judgment, which was aimed to assist an individual who did not participate in our primary to distract our party ahead of this crucial election.’

“We therefore call on the Chief Judge of Anambra State, Honorable Justice O.M Anyachebelu and the National Judicial Council (NJC) to quickly call Justice O.A Nwabunike to order as there must be an end to judicial rascality.

“Justice Nwabunike must be made to release the case file as well as the copies of the judgment because his continued refusal is capable of pitching the Judiciary against the people of Anambra, whose mandate, as being expressed in our candidate, Valentine Ozigbo, is being undermined by Justice Nwabunike,” PDP said.

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