… Odinkalu reacts, says judgment is corrupt
Our Reporter, Abuja, with Ike Nnachi, Abakaliki
The Federal High Court in Abakaliki on Thursday nullified the candidature of Mr Silas Onu as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the Ebonyi South senatorial by-election scheduled for 3rd of February, 2024.
Ruling on the matter, Justice Hyeladziya Ngajiwa affirmed that the Party failed to conduct the required three-man ad hoc and one-man national delegates who were mandated to vote in the primary election.
The Court, therefore, ordered the immediate removal of Mr Onu’s name from the INEC portal.
The Court further mandated Onu to pay one million naira to each of the plaintiffs for leading the Party astray.
Reacting, Mr Silas Onu, faulted the ruling adding that that the Party will immediately file a Notice of Appeal to ensure that the Party’s participate in the forthcoming election was not jeopardised.
He said: “While we acknowledge that the judgment is contrived and deliberately done for political reasons, we are filing our notice of appeal immediately to ensure that we legally continue our participation in the election. Our supporters are called on to come out in their numbers and vote for PDP on Saturday 3rd February, 2024.
“Today, we received a contrived judgment from Justice Ngajiwa of the FHC Abakaliki that PDP did not give INEC 21 days Notice of Congresses for the By-Election.
“It is interesting that INEC Abakaliki were the ones arguing about none issuance of 21 days Notice to them. The REC, who is an active APC agent, deliberately refused to attend our activities even with notices given to them.
“They monitored our primary election and asserted so. Yet, Justice Ngajiwa chose to ignore plethora of superior Court decisions on internal party affairs, even the recent Supreme Court’s decision on Plateau State. He pretended not to know that this is a by-election and also that he doesn’t understand internal party affairs.
“I have always been of the opinion that a judge only gives bad judgment for one of two reasons – either he is manifestly incompetent or unashamedly corrupt. Whichever the reason, a bad judge has no place on the bench.
“The obvious design of the judgment given 2 days to election is to create confusion in the process and ensure that our teaming supporters are discouraged from voting – it is sad that a judge will make himself available for such a hatchet job.
“The conduct of the judge is beneath the hallowed chamber he sits in and a disgrace to the entire judicial community and legal profession.
“The FHC is not the final court in pre-election matters and as such our participation is sacrosanct and our votes will count. God bless the PDP and the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said.
Meanwhile, former chairman of National Human Rights Commission, Professor Chidi Odinkalu, has described the judgment as corrupt, procured and aimed at stopping the PDP candidate from participating in the election.
In a series of posts on Thursday on his X account, Odinkalu went ahead to even question the propriety of the continued sitting on the bench by Justice Ngajiwa, a judge formerly arraigned for corruption charges who was discharged on technical grounds but not acquitted.
“This is a classic example of a corrupt judge giving manifestly bought & sold order a targeted political hit job. In 2017 @officialEFCC arraigned Nganjiwa on high corruption charges. The facts were clear. But @SupremeCourtNg invented a technicality.
“In 2022, the Supreme Court ruled that it is only @njcNig that has the power to deal with allegations of misconduct against a serving Judge, & that such a Judge could only be tried in court after the recommendation of the NJC. It discharged Nganjiwa.
“….but he was not acquitted, of course. So, a judge with a serious case of judicial corruption continues to sit & hand down manifestly corrupt orders, such as this, almost assuredly targeted to stop @sjonu from succeeding @realdaveumahi, who is now Minister in @NigeriaGov.
“It’s these kinds of orders by this kind of judge that have made the #NigerianJudiciary & the legal profession deserving objects of derision & contempt in the eyes of citizens who are entitled to expect a lot better from a vocation that claims nobility but chooses to be squalid,” Odinkalu said.