Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has clarified its stance on the Supreme Court judgment on the crisis over the national chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), saying it cannot succumb to blackmail by amorphous groups.
INEC said it viewed the circulation of posters and statements purportedly accusing it of refusal to obey the judgement of the Supreme Court recognising one Chief Edozie Njoku “as the authentic national chairman of APGA” as cheap blackmail.
In a statement yesterday in Abuja signed by the national commissioner and chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, INEC said the group’s statement aimed at hoodwinking those not abreast of the details of the case.
“We wish to state that the issues in question are about facts, the law, and due process not amenable to hysteria and appeal to sentiments.
“The attention of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been drawn to posters and statements being circulated by an amorphous group.
“It is noteworthy that the suit in question started from the Jigawa State High Court, initiated by one Alhaji Rabiu Garba Aliyu against Chief Jude Okeke and three others. Chief Edozie Njoku was not a party to the suit. One of the reliefs sought is a “declaration that the national officers of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, including the plaintiff, who were elected at its national convention held in Owerri, Imo State on 31st May, 2019 shall remain in office and discharge their respective duties for a term of four years commencing from 31st May, 2021.
“On 30th June, 2021, the Jigawa State High Court in suit No: JDU/022/2021 entered judgement in favour of the said Alhaji Rabiu Garba Aliyu. On appeal, the Court of Appeal described the suit as an abuse of court process. “Consequently, the entire proceedings of the Jigawa State High Court in suit No. JDU/022/2021, delivered by Musa Ubale J on 30th June, 2021 and the judgement delivered thereon are accordingly set aside”. The Supreme Court in its judgement of 14th October, 2021 affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeal.
“However, on 27th January 2023, Chief Edozie Njoku, who was never a party to any of the suits and the processes filed in the various courts approached the Supreme Court of Nigeria as an interested person/applicant and filed a Motion on Notice seeking for an order of the Court to correct “typographical errors and accidental slip” in the lead judgement of the Supreme Court. This was granted and the correction did not in any way affect the substance of the suit and the orders made by the Supreme Court.”
The commission noted that it is a law-abiding institution and will continue to give effect to the decisions, judgements and orders of the various courts in Nigeria.
It said the courts are not helpless when they make orders, deliver judgements and make pronouncements.