Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
The Federal High Court sitting in Awka has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to within 14 days conduct an investigation and subsequently prosecute of Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah of the Young Progressives Party (YPP) over criminal allegations brought against him before the court.
Also to be investigated and prosecuted was the Returning Officer for the Anambra South Senatorial election, Prof. M.N. Umenweke who returned Ubah and later declared the election inconclusive.
The order came following an application of mandamus by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) senatorial candidate for Anambra South Senatorial District Chief Chris Uba, praying the court to compel INEC to prosecute the duo of Ubah and Umenweke for their alleged disorderly conduct that led to the declaration of the junior Uba as the winner of Anambra South senatorial election.
Giving the order on Wednesday in suit No: FHC/AWK/CS/29/2019 between Chief Christian Uba as applicant and INEC as first respondent, Prof. Umenweke as second respondent and Ubah as third respondent, Justice I.B. Gafai said: “The 1st respondent (INEC) shall, within 14 days from today (Thursday, March 27) conduct or cause investigation into the criminal allegations of the applicant;
“Prosecute, if the investigation result so warrants, the 3rd respondent and any other person(s) implicated in its investigation; and where it considers it inexpedient to prosecute through its legal officers, consider at its liberty, the appointment of the applicant’s solicitors in this suit for the purpose of such prosecution.”
Uba had in his reliefs, sought “an order of mandamus compelling the 1st respondent forthwith to undertake the prosecution of the 3rd respondent and his cohorts involved in the disorderly conduct that took place on February 23, 2018 in the Nnewi North LGA headquarters that led to the announcement of the result of the inconclusive election held on the same day to elect a senator to represent Anambra South senatorial district in the National Assembly.
“A further order of mandamus compelling the respondent to prosecute the 2nd and 3rd respondents for announcing or publishing a false result to the effect that the 3rd respondent had won the election held on the said 23/2/2019 even when they both knew that the said election was inconclusive and from which no genuine result had thereby been generated.
“An order of mandamus compelling the 1st respondent to prosecute the 2nd respondent for the offence of delivering or causing ‘to be delivered to the 3rd respondent a false declaration of result/return to the effect that he won the election to the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to represent Anambra South senatorial district in the Senate even as he knew that the said election was still inconclusive.”
Uba had as part of his grounds for the application said: “The election was inconclusive; the returning officer in the election i.e. the 2nd respondent knew that as a fact but had still proceeded to announce a winner in the election in the person of the 3rd respondent.
“When he was asked for an explanation for his inexplicable conduct, the said 2nd respondent had stated that ‘there was insufficient security in the collation arena. There was an imminent danger to my person given the situation at hand. I hereby declare the result of the elections into the Anambra South senatorial seat which I pronounced yesterday inconclusive. This is to enable conduct of a re-run election in the affected areas.”