Guber war: Group exposes plot to plunge Anambra ‘into anarchy & chaos’, writes Supreme Court, other judges

Posted by News Express | 25 November 2013 | 4,923 times

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The Nigerian judiciary has been urged not to allow itself to be used to abort the gubernatorial choice of Anambra people so as to avoid plunging the state into anarchy.

The advice was contained in a letter which the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) wrote to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma M. Mukhtar; Acting President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Baulkachuwa; Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja, Justice Ibrahim Auta; Chief Judge of the High Court of the FCT, Abuja, Justice I. M. Bukar; and Chief Judge of Anambra State, Justice Peter Umeadi.

The letter dated November 25, 2013 was signed by Intersociety Board Chairman, Emeka Umeagbalasi, and Head, Publicity Desk, Justus Ijeoma.

In the “Letter of Utmost Urgency & Public Importance” Intersociety alerted their lordships of “Attempts to Plunge Anambra State of Nigeria into Anarchy & Chaos Using Perceived Judicial Entrepreneurs in the Hallowed Bench”.

The letter centred on the November 16 Anambra governorship poll and the proposed supplementary ballot of November 30.  The Onitsha, Anambra-based Intersociety prayed “Your Lordships to ensure that our beloved State is not plunged in anarchy and chaos by desperate and deadly politicians using some unconscionable and not-too-clean hands in Your Lordships’ Hallowed Bench,” adding: “We fear, reasonably, that such anarchical and chaotic instrument may include “tea-table” court order(s), stopping the People of Anambra State from completing the electoral process of choosing their leaders.”

Below are excerpts of the letter referenced INTERSOC/NG/01-05/ NG/JUD/FRN/011/013:

“As Your Lordships may know, Anambra governorship poll was held on November 16, 2013 and conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission into the State’s 4,608 electoral polling units, 326 electoral wards, 21 electoral local government areas, 3 electoral senatorial districts and one electoral State. This is in line with Section 179 of the Constitution of Nigeria as amended in 2011 and related provisions of the Electoral Act of 2010. The Anambra governorship poll is “more than governorship poll” or “one governorship poll too many”. This is because the important poll apart from introducing a staggered poll calendar into Nigeria in 2006 as a result of armada of electoral fraud that characterized the conduct of the April 2003 governorship poll in the State leading to 34 month legal battle by the presumed winner, which ended triumphantly on 15th of March, 2006; it carries with it a lot of socio-political factors and calculations.

“For instance, ethnicity and ethnocentrism were brought to bear during the poll campaigns. While the mainstream people of host geopolitical zone (sedentary Igbo) saw it as a battle to take over the zone and its peoples by a zone peopled by the Yorubas of the Southwest, the accused zone and its people saw it as an expansionist mission for socio-political conquest.

“At the level of battle of wits between the central ruling party-PDP and its main opposition-APC, it was also a battle “to crush and capture”. Political ethnic “minority and majority” also played out, whereupon “capturing” or “retaining Anambra State” was seen as “fall” or “consolidation” of the President’s “main power base”. The last important factor that shaped the all-important poll was the re-opening of old wound between the man perceived to be at the center of the April 2003 governorship poll massive manipulation and the man who battled legally and fiercely to reclaim his stolen mandate. It is generally perceived a case of “chief opponent of poll rigging versus chief exponent of poll rigging”.

“Your Lordships, it was the totality of the foregoing that characterized the “inconclusive poll”. They became manifest during the poll’s campaigns to the extent that objective close watchers predicted that the “State will go up in flames” on the poll day proper. All manners of unconventional and negative poll campaigns were introduced including campaigns of calumny and promotion and spreading of falsehoods and dangerous rumors, sectional and sensational media reports and coverage, defacing and destruction of campaign posters and bill boards, infiltration of political opponents’ camps and planting of booing and jeering crowds, disruption of sacred denominational services, perfect killing and shifting of blames, importation of fake voters, massive procurement of voters in their homes using INEC voters’ register template, to mention but a few.

“Outcome of the Poll:

“The poll was successfully conducted amidst tight security and polls were successfully held in 4, 498 polling units and their results successfully returned. Out of these 4,498 polling units, poll was conducted in 4,333 polling units on Saturday, 16th of November, 2013. On Sunday, 17th of November, 2013, poll was completed in the remaining 65 polling units in Obosi Ward 7. The area was unable to vote on voting day because of late arrival of poll materials and related hitches. The results of the poll conducted in 210 polling units with a total registered voting population of 113, 113, scattered in 15 LGAs were cancelled because of one form of irregularity or the other, leading to a supplementary poll for the affected areas slated to hold this Saturday, 30th of November, 2013. About 75% of the affected areas are located in Abatate (33 units), Ideani (8 units), Nkpor 1 (16 units), Nkpor 2 (40 units), Ogidi 1 (28 units), Ogidi 2 (23 units), Uke (3 units) and Umuoji (9 units) Communities all in Idemmili North LGA of Anambra State, totaling 160 polling units with total registered voters of 90, 000 as in 500 persons per polling unit. The remaining 50 polling units with some 23, 133 registered voters are scattered in 14 LGAs of the State.

“Our Calls:

“Our writing Your Lordships is not only to keep Your Lordships abreast of the unfolding events in the State as regards the all-important poll, but particularly to pray Your Lordships to ensure that our beloved State is not plunged in anarchy and chaos by desperate and  deadly politicians using some unconscionable and not-too-clean hands in Your Lordships’ Hallowed Bench. We fear, reasonably, that such anarchical and chaotic instrument may include “tea-table” court order(s), stopping the People of Anambra State from completing the electoral process of choosing their leaders.

“Ordinarily, we at Intersociety would not have lost any sleep about this genuine worry or border Your Lordships, but the events of the immediate past in the country have clearly shown that “among the 12 apostles in the Nigeria’s Hallowed Bench”, there is most likely to be a “Judas”. Instances abound Your Lordships. From the late Hon. Justice Rose Ikpeme’s judicial infamy of 1993 that nearly threw the country into chaos, which brought the military’s inglorious epoch back to the polity, to present day’s reckless court orders issued from judge’s bathroom, toilet, bedroom, sitting room and dinner table.

“Our passionate calls and appeals foregoing are in no way saying that the Anambra Governorship poll is immune from post poll judicial review. But any court order stopping the supplementary poll will be socially, politically and judicially calamitous. We are not unaware of the stark fact that by Section 285(2) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 as amended, the governorship election tribunal is created and its petition originates therein. Also by Section 246(3) of the same Constitution, first appeal from a governorship election matter lies at the Appellate Court; and by Section 233(2)(e)(iv), it ends  or terminates at the Supreme or Apex Court.  By the provisions of Section 285(5) (6) and (7), filing of the governorship election petition takes 21 days after the date of the declaration of the final official results.

“The governorship poll matter is originally heard and determined within 180 days at the tribunal; re-examined and disposed of at the Appellate Court within 60 days; and affirmed or rejected at the Apex within 60 days. This means that the Anambra governorship poll court matter has a ten-month lifespan. Originally, it ought to be filed before its petition tribunal on 22nd of December, 2013 and determined at same (tribunal) within 22nd day of June, 2014. Its appeal will be filed between June and mid July 2014 and determined late July and early September, 2014 at the Appellate Court and its apex review will be filed in September 2014 and determined in October or early November, 2014 as case may be.

“Finally, Your Lordships, if for any reason, whether silly or otherwise, such an order or orders are given, they should be vacated expeditiously and the issuing judge or judges seriously reprimanded within the law and judicial code of conduct. Judicial stoppage of poll conduct or completion is socially abominable and viewed as a military coup.”

•Photo shows Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma M. Mukhtar.

Source: News Express

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