NKWERRE/ ISU/ NWANGELE/ NJABA / FEDERAL CONSTITUENCY
UGONNA OZURIGBO ‘S JAUNDICED APPEAL COURT VICTORY AND THE UNTOLD STORY :
- Njoku Macdonald Obinna
Owerri , Imo State .
Have you read the book , ” Incorruptible judge and incorrigible liar ? ” by D. Olu Olagoke .
I read it about 25 years ago while in JSS classes at the Holy Ghost College , Owerri , Imo State .
If there is any aspect of the Nigerian society that needs urgent reformation and social fumigation , it is the judiciary . Because , this very arm of the government saddled with a serious task of adjudicating laws and dispensing justice for the common good of all is easily and usually compromised on the altar of ‘ money bag politicians and the godfathers ‘ who always believe that ‘ Justice is always for Sale in Nigeria ‘. Unfortunately , we have entrusted our common fate in the hands of a number of these mindless money mongers in the wig profession .
By this , I never mean to draw erratic conclusion that all judges are corrupt . But no doubt , the bad eggs amongst them outnumber the tiny fraction of those who practice with the fear of God and their integrity intact . The likes of Prof. Francis Dike ,SAN.
This evening , I was awoken to a number of tags of my name to disturbing online posts and cajoling comments by pro-Ugonna Ozurigbo supporters led by my brother and friend , Azike Iyke .
As usual , I took time to read a plethora of these comments which were indeed in favour of the embattled sacked federal lawmaker, Mr. Ozurigbo , as far as the certificate of return issued to Hon. Kingsley Echendu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by the Independent National Electoral Commission is anything to go by .
What really happened ? I was reliably informed by those who were in court today that the Federal Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri reaffirmed Hon. Ugonna Ozurigbo of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the duly nominated candidate of the party during her primaries in lmo State .
A pre – election matter which his major rival and fellow party man , Hon. Barr. Harrison Nwadike took up to the Federal High Court , Owerri , challenging the illegal substitution of his name with that of Ugonna Ozurigbo .
In a heart warming judgment , the presiding Judge , Hon. Justice Ringim in strong terms maintained that , the election which produced the former Imo Deputy Speaker was illegal , null and void . And immediately directed the Independent National Electoral Commission to issue the second runner -up in the general elections for Nkwerre/ ISU/ Nwangele/ Njaba Federal Constituency with a certificate of return . And that was how Kingsley Echendu who was not party to the lawsuit came into the big picture .
Those who are mentioning Kingsley Echendu’s name in a preelection petition instituted by an APC stalwart against INEC and his party are not well informed .
Fast forward it to the Appeal Court judgment today . The alleged ‘ cash and carry judgement ‘ delivered by the incorruptible judge to justify the huge amount of money clandestinely given to her by the incorrigible liars without taking recourse to the early judgement given by a court of competent jurisdiction shall not see the light of the day at the Apex court since all the judges cannot compromise at the same time .
Those who have been following tenaciously the court proceedings should know better that there is nothing stopping Kingsley Echendu from being sworn -in having certified the legal and electoral requirements ; and even went as far as being cleared by the Legal Department of the National Assembly and copied to both Clerk of the House and Mr. Speaker .
But the Speaker , Mr. Femi Gbajabiamilia , decided to stampede on this very mandate while giving his party man and Coordinator in the South East during his Speakership campaign , Chief Ugonna Ozurigbo , ample time to exhaust his legal matters in court before the House resumes from its two months recess by September .
A well planned and orchestrated political gimmicks to knock out Hon.Kingsley Echendu from taking up either a legal case against the Speaker or draw the attention of Nigerians and fellow elected party men in the House over this height of illegality through an organised peaceful demonstration .
However , while the uninformed supporters of OZB have been jumping up and down with different victory songs cooked with my name , I can only say that ; ” laughter in the midst of tragedy can never be really funny “.
Ironically , they are not aware that , the judgement was completely delivered in nullity as it was made out of the 60 days time bound allotted to it since the early judgement delivered by Hon. Justice Ringime had not been challenged , upturned or struck out by any court of competent jurisdiction as instituted against the petitioner – Barr. Harrison Nwadike by the Ist Appellant – Hon. Ugonna Ozurigbo .
Well informed minds and keen followers of this matter are not really taken aback by the said ” Cash and Carry judgement ” hurriedly delivered out of the time bound allotted for its adjudication .
OZB ‘s filed appeal was said to have been received later than the 30th May which in electoral law marks nullity as the matter has already been taken to the Supreme court ; the final arbiter to this very controversial court case .
At this level , it is very difficult for respected Supreme Court judges to compromise even when Mr. Femi Gbajabiamilia without throwing caution in the wind made the sacked Federal Lawmaker Chairman of the House Committee on Justice ; to enable him warm his way into the hearts of easy to be compromised judges .
Nevertheless , let me candidly commend Hon. Ugonna Ozurigbo in particular for putting up a strong fight against our resilient but unbendable electoral laws and the legal system . He is a true Ikenga who has shown leadership to all those following him blindly and consciously .
The supporters of the All Progressives Congress in conjunction with the Action Alliance in Imo State have really demonstrated credible opposition ever since they left power . This is quite commendable as it ensures checks on the ruling Peoples Democratic Party .
In the light of the above , the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party should close ranks and rally round one of their own whose mandate is randomly ambushed by the APC with a background support of the political godfathers in Abuja .
The party leadership in Nkwerre / Isu/ Nwangele/ Njaba LGAs should see this as a collective fight that should not be left for Hon. Kingsley Echendu alone since one cannot be greater than a thousand political gang -ups .
Be that as it may. I know quite sure that ” When a thief is caught , he must return as seven folds what he has stolen ” – Proverbs 6 : 31 .
Any illegal jumbo salary and sitting allowances received must be refunded without kobo left after the Supreme Court judgement because ; ” Justice delayed is not justice denied ” .
It is still fresh in our discerning minds how the cyber space , blogosphere and print media about this time last year got awash with jubilation when some members of the National Assembly ; Senators and House of Representatives members sacked by the Supreme Court were ordered to refund wrongly and illegally earned salaries and allowances .
Rt. Hon. Ugonna Ozurigbo may be saving these allowances for his forerunner , Hon. Kingsley Echendu .
From years of experience as one holding media brief for the largest Federal Constituency , I can authoritatively say that , it is not yet time for Uhuru for all the parties directly or indirectly involved in this legal battle until the various courts ; Tribunal , Court of Appeal and Supreme Court exhaust all the matters before them for adjudication and interpretation while making legal sanctions in due time .
Below is the interim scorecard for the first and second rounds of the game :
First Round :
May 29th, Federal High Court , Owerri Judicial Division .
√ Harrison Nwadike 2 : 0 Ugonna Ozurigbo
Kingsley Echendu : Observer .
√ Second Round
July 29th , Federal Court of Appeal , Owerri Judicial Division .
Ugonna Ozurigbo 1: 0 Harrison Nwadike
Kingsley Echendu : Observer .
The third and final round shall be decided at the Supreme Court where respected Judges who are conscious of their names , integrity and antecedents shall not be easily compromised .
Federal High Court ruled that Rt. Hon. Ugonna Ozurigbo was not the duly nominated candidate for the APC during the party’s primaries , but the Federal Court of Appeal ruled otherwise by reaffirming him as the authentic and duly nominated candidate of the APC during the primaries .
This is where we are for now .
- Njoku Macdonald Obinna
Media Consultant | • News Reporter |• Blogger
… Redefining news reportage in the new media .