An FCT High Court sitting in Bwari has fixed Thursday, September 14, for a definite hearing of a motion seeking an order to commit the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to prison over alleged disobedience to a court order.
Justice Mohammed Madugu fixed the date following a committal charge that emanated from a suit marked: FCT/HC/CV/4068/2023 filed by counsel to the plaintiffs, Michael Ajara.
While the plaintiffs are Otunba Camaru Lateef Ogidan and Mustapha Rabiu, Chief Victor Oye and Prof. Yakubu are 1st and 2nd respondents in the suit.
Messrs Ogidan and Rabiu emerged as National Vice Chairman, South West Geopolitical Zone of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, and National Welfare Officer of APGA respectively at the Owerri Convention of May 31, 2019, under the leadership of Chief Edozie Njoku, the 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.
Mr Yakubu was alleged to have refused to recognise Chief 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 Nov. 11 elections in Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa.
It said the INEC boss 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 hold any campaign or convention in the name of the party.
“The injunction also ordered Chief Victor Oye to stop parading himself as the National Chairman of APGA,” it said.
When the matter was called on Monday, Ajara, who appeared for the plaintiffs, informed the court that the motion was ripped for hearing, having been served on INEC chairman on July 13 which the court verified from its records.
Curiously, a copy of the proof of service of the contempt proceedings on Oye could not be found in the court file, though 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 the Chief Registrar, Joseph Igboyi, to verify if he was the one who signed the CTC and he admitted that he did.
When the bailiff, Musa Abdulwahab, 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.
Mr Musa never provided reason he removed the proof of service from the court file and the development generated heated argument in the court.
Justice Madugu consequently adjourned Oye’s matter until Sept. 28 for hearing.