The 14th of September, 2023 has been fixed by a federal capital territory high court sitting in Bwari for hearing of a motion against the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu.
The motion seeks to commit Yakubu to prison over alleged disobedience of a court order.
The presiding judge, Mohammed Madugu fixed the date following a committal charge which emanated from a suit marked: FCT/HC/CV/4068/2023 filed by Michael Ajara, counsel to the plaintiffs.
The plaintiffs are Otunba Ogidan and Mustapha Rabiu.
Victor Oye and Mahmood Yakubu are 1st and 2nd respondents in the suit.
Ogidan and Rabiu on May 31, 2019, were elected as national vice chairman of the south-west geopolitical zone of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and national welfare officer respectively, during a convention in Owerri, the Imo capital, under the leadership of Edozie Njoku, national chairman of the party.
In the application, Oye and Mahmood were alleged to have flouted and ignored the court’s interim injunction of May 10, which ordered parties in the suit to maintain status quo ante bellum pending the determination of the substantive suit fixed for September 28.
Yakubu was alleged to have refused to recognise Njoku as the rightful national chairman of APGA and went ahead to publish names of governorship candidates which did not emanate from Njoku for APGA, for the November 11 off-cycle governorship polls in Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa.
INEC was alleged to have continued to recognise Oye as the national chairman of APGA as against the court order.
The motion said Oye also held a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the party in disobedience to the court injunction which barred him from calling any meeting or holding any campaign or convention in the name of the party.
It said, “The injunction also ordered Chief Victor Oye to stop parading himself as the National Chairman of APGA.”
When the matter was called on Monday, Ajara, who appeared for the plaintiffs, informed the court that the motion is ripe for hearing, having been served on the INEC chairman on July 13 which the court verified from its records.
However, a copy of the proof of service of the contempt proceedings on Oye could not be found in the court file, although Ajara had certified true copies (CTCs) of the documents for the two respondents.
In a bid to unravel the mix-up, the judge called the attention of Joseph Igboyi, the chief registrar, to verify if the signature on the CTC was his and he answered in the affirmative.
When Musa Abdulwahab, the bailiff, was called to produce the original copy of the proof of service which was meant to be in the judge’s file, he admitted that he removed the original copy from the file.
Musa did not state why he removed the proof of service from the court file and the development generated heated argument in the courtroom.
The presiding judge subsequently adjourned Oye’s matter to September 28 for further hearing.
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