Court Approves Suit Seeking to Commit INEC Chairman Yakubu to Prison

In a significant legal development, the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Bwari has scheduled a hearing for September 14 on a motion seeking to commit Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to prison. The motion alleges that Yakubu disobeyed a court order, setting the stage for a legal showdown that could have far-reaching implications. Let’s delve into the details of this unfolding legal drama.

Background

The motion was filed by Otunba Ogidan and Mustapha Rabiu, who were elected as the national vice chairman of the southwest geopolitical zone of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and national welfare officer, respectively. These elections took place during a convention in Owerri, Imo State, on May 31, 2019.

Allegations

Ogidan and Rabiu contend that Yakubu disregarded the court’s interim injunction issued on May 10. This injunction had ordered all parties involved in the suit to maintain the status quo ante bellum (the state of affairs before the war) pending the determination of the substantive suit, which was set for September 28.

Specifically, they accused Yakubu of:

  1. Refusing to recognize Edozie Njoku as the rightful national chairman of APGA.
  2. Publishing the names of governorship candidates for off-cycle governorship polls in Imo, Kogi, and Bayelsa, which allegedly did not originate from Njoku.
  3. INEC’s continued recognition of Victor Oye as the factional chairman of APGA, in defiance of the court order.
  4. Oye’s organization of a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the party in violation of the court injunction, which had prohibited him from holding any meetings or events in the party’s name.
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The Court Proceedings

During Monday’s court session, it was confirmed that the motion to commit Yakubu to prison had been served on him on July 13. However, the original copy of the proof of service was missing from the court file. The bailiff admitted to removing the original proof of service but did not provide a reason for doing so.

The presiding judge, Mohammed Madugu, adjourned the hearing on Oye’s matter to September 28 for further proceedings.

Implications

This legal battle has significant implications for both INEC and the ongoing internal disputes within APGA. Depending on the court’s decision, it could impact the legitimacy of party leadership and the recognition of candidates in future elections. As the legal showdown unfolds, it underscores the importance of upholding court orders and the rule of law in the Nigerian political landscape.

In conclusion, the motion to commit INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu to prison represents a critical chapter in an ongoing legal saga. The outcome of this case will be closely watched by political observers and legal experts alike as it could have far-reaching consequences for the nation’s electoral processes and party politics.

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