• Highlight Supreme Court judgment
The dust over the recent Supreme Court judgment on the leadership of the Anambra State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is yet to settle as counsel to Chief Chris Uba and John Chukwu has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission( INEC) to issue Certificates of Return to his clients immediately.
This is coming at a time when documents on the recent Supreme Court interpretation of an earlier judgment revealed that the apex court did not categorically say that the seats of senators Andy Uba and Stella Oduah were not vacant.
In a three-page letter to the Chairman of the Commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, head of Law Rescue and counsel to Uba and Chukwu, Mr A.C. Ozioko, said the electoral body must stop undue delay in the issuance of Certificates of Return to Uba and Chukwu.
The Supreme Court, in its recent judgment upheld Ejike Oguebego as chairman of Anambra PDP.
It, however, was silent on whether senators Andy Uba and Stella Oduah, who belonged to the faction that was sacked, should quit their seats.
The ruling sparked divergent reactions from stakeholders in the state with Uba and Chukwu, who contested senatorial primaries and won in the Oguebego then faction, demanding that certificates of return must be given to them.
INEC approached the Supreme Court for an interpretation of its judgment. But, in a ruling delivered by Justice Inyang Okoro, the apex court declined INEC’s request, stating that it lacked the jurisdiction to hear the motion.
Justice Okoro said: “Let me state here clearly that the applicant cannot ride on the back of Order 8 Rule 16 of the court to tempt us to assume jurisdiction.
The rule mandates the review of the apex court judgment in rare situations when clerical errors or slip inherent in the decision could negatively affect the meaning of the decision.
“In this instance, it is incorrect to state that such errors existed in our judgment on the matter delivered on February 29.”
On the argument over whether or not certificates of return should be issued or not, the Justice said: “We did not elevate Oguebego to national chairman of the party, let alone deciding whether he reserved the authority to submit list of the candidates to contest the National Assembly from that state.
“We also did not decide or mandate INEC to the candidates to issue certificates of return because that matter was not before us.”
But, in its letter, Law Rescue reminded INEC that the Supreme Court in its “motion for interpretation/clarification for lack of jurisdiction” should have known that it should immediately issue certificates of returns to its clients.
Expressing concern that INEC, despite the Supreme Court’s ruling was still dilly-dallying on issuing certificates of return to its clients, Law Rescue warned on the grave implication of such attitude.
The firm said: “INEC, particularly your office, has been foot-dragging in issuing our clients with their certificates of return as duly nominated candidates of the party in compliance with the order of the Federal High Court.
“The order of the Court of Appeal that brought Andy Uba group was set aside since January 29, 2016, by the Supreme Court. You are aware of this fact and in spite of that, you have withheld our clients’ certificates for over 40 days now of your becoming aware of the judgment.”
The firm reminded the INEC chairman that he swore an oath to the Constitution to always do the right thing, and implored him to respect the court’s ruling and issue certificates of return to its clients.