Founding national chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) Chief Chekwas Okorie has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reverse itself with immediate effect over its stance on the party’s leadership tussle.
Okorie, the founding national chairman who was reacting to the Commission’s position on the issue as reported widely in the media Tuesday, said, “The sensibilities of most discerning Nigerians were assaulted by a most jaundiced and half baked press release issued by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, under the hand of the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye, dated Tuesday, 9th May, 2023”.
Frowning at the position of INEC, Okorie said it smacked of mischief and dishonesty.
“The entire charade drips of mischief, dishonesty, deception and/or poor understanding of the clear and unambiguous, unanimous judgment of the Supreme Court delivered on March 24th, 2023”, he said.
He stated further,
“INEC which has a full fledged Legal Department with not less than 3 Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) could not understand or refused to understand that the Supreme Court judgment on suit no. SC/CV/686/2021 delivered on October 14th, 2021 has been appropriately replaced by Appeal no. SC/687/2021 which now has Chief Edozie Njoku as INTERESTED PERSON /PARTY SEEKING TO BE JOINED.
“INEC could not understand or refused to understand that the Supreme Court in the exercise of its inherent jurisdiction corrected the errors of the Jigawa High Court and the Kano Appeal Court that failed to join Chief Edozie Njoku, whose purported removal as the National Chairman of APGA duly elected at the National Convention of the Party held at Owerri on 31st May, 2019, was the subject matter of the suit at the Jigawa High Court that snowballed all the way to the Supreme Court.
“INEC could not understand or refused to understand that their Agent Provocateur, Chief Victor Oye who never featured at the Owerri Convention of APGA and was never mentioned in the Jigawa High Court judgment but threw himself into the arena at the Kano Appeal Court was appropriately DELETED in the subsisting judgment of the Supreme Court no. SC /687/2021 delivered on March 24th, 2023.
“It is important at this juncture to educate INEC that suit no. SC/686/2021 has been effectively replaced by suit no. SC/687/2021, using the authority of Order 8, Rule 16 of the Supreme Court and the inherent jurisdiction of the Court. It therefore follows that any reference to the defunct judgment no. SC/686/2021, as INEC finds convenient to always do is an exercise in utter mischief”.
According to him,
“We have noted the last paragraph of the INEC Press Release where it stated inter alia; “The Courts are not helpless when they make orders, deliver judgments and make pronouncements. “They also have the capacity to punish for disobedience of their orders and judgments in committal proceedings. “This is the process open to law abiding citizens, groups and organisations …”
“We venture to advise INEC that it is not late in the day for the Commission to retrace its steps and begin to repair it’s badly battered image as a public institution that is notoriously steeped in reckless disregard of the rule of law and due process.
“The rapidity at which the Commission is being repremanded by various Courts and other stakeholders in Nigeria’s democracy should be a cause for serious concern to the leadership of the Commission”.