Senate: Supreme Court ends hope of Chris Uba, others

The Supreme Court in Nigeria on Wednesday dashed the hopes of Anambra strong man, Chief Chris Uba following a ruling that ended controversies over the representation of his state at the national assembly.
The court bluntly refused invitation of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to clarify the controversies over its earlier judgment which many had interpreted had by default, made Chris a senator while his brother, Andy will have to vacate his senatorial seat.
In the earlier judgement, the Supreme Court had declared the faction of Anambra State PDP Executive which conducted the primary elections which led to emergence of Senators Andy Uba and Stella Oduah illegal.
Uche Ekwuenife, the third senator produced in the primary conducted by the faction had earlier being kicked out by Court of Appeal.
In the earlier judgment delivered last month, the Supreme Court had upheld the December, 2014 decision of Justice Chukwu of Federal High Court in which the Chris Uba backed Ejike Oguebego faction was declared the authentic PDP executive for Anambra State.
Analysts had thought that by the judgment, Andy Uba, Stella Oduah and PDP members of House of Representatives, who were products of a primary conducted by another faction of the party, are now to be replaced by those on the list submitted to INEC by the Ejike Oguebego-led Executive Committee of the PDP in Anambra.
The ruling had led to clamour by Chief Chris Uba, the two other senators as well as House of Representatives contenders produced from the primary conducted by the court recognized faction to be sworn in as lawmakers.
They had also mounted pressure on INEC to issue certificates of return to them in tune with their interpretation of the court ruling.
But Andy and Stella Oduah who have been sitting pretty as Senators rejected the interpretation of the judgment to mean that they have lost their seats.
The Senators insisted that the primary which led to their emergence as PDP candidates in the senatorial election was conducted by representatives of National Executive of PDP and not the local executive declared illegal by the court.
With the pressure coming on all sides, INEC decided to approach the Supreme Court to further clarify its judgment as relates to authentic representatives of Anambra State in the National Assembly.
On Wednesday, the apex court in a judgment delivered by Justice Inyang Okoro said the court lacked the jurisdiction to hear the case.
The Judge also said the request by INEC on it to review its earlier judgment was wrong as no such errors existed in the judgment on the matter delivered last month.
Justice Okoro also held that the applicant tried to mislead the court by including fresh issues that were not captured in the judgment sought to be interpreted.
“In that judgment, the court set aside the decision of the lower court and ordered that Chief Ejike Oguebego remained lawful Chairman of the PDP in Anambra pending the determination of the substantive suit.
“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,” Justice Okoro said.
The Judge accused INEC of being pressured by commentaries in the media to file the motion.
“Since the applicant is unable to convince the court on whether it has jurisdiction to hear the motion, it is hereby dismissed.’’
“We have gone through the argument advanced by counsel to parties. And the court cannot be invited to interpret, justify or clarify its own judgment based on issues outside the purview of that judgment.
“This subtle invitation is simply to cause the court to rewrite the judgment, and we cannot do so. This is a court of finality,” Okoro held.

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