Anambra: Olanipekun Takes Over Andy Uba’s Case

Andy Uba saga -Former President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), may have taken over as the lead counsel of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the 2007 governorship election in Anambra State, Chief Andy Uba.

Uba wants to validate the election voided by the Supreme Court two years ago. 
He had filed a fresh suit over the governorship tussle at the Court of Appeal sitting in
Enugu after the apex court struck out his case and lampooned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for conducting the 2007 governorship poll in the state.
Olanipekun has now taken over as Uba’s lead counsel.
The former NBA president last week filed an application before the court, asking for accelerated hearing on the case.
He is also asking the court to declare Uba governor of Anambra based on his election as governor on
April 14, 2007.
In the new motion, which lists INEC among more than 650 respondents, Uba’s lawyers gave notice of their client’s withdrawal of an earlier motion he filed on
June 29, 2009.
The new motion asks that the court uphold the election of the appellant/applicant as governor of
Anambra State.
It also prays that the court vary its judgment of
February 18, 2008 in order to sustain the certificate of return issued to Uba by INEC on or about April 20, 2007.
The Supreme Court had on
June 14, 2007 voided the 2007 governorship election in the state and berated INEC for conducting the poll on the ground that the tenure of the state governor Peter Obi had not lapsed.
In what could be termed a locus classicus in law the apex court restored Obi as Governor of the state and ordered Uba to vacate the Government House as, according to it, Obi’s tenure would lapse on
March 17, 2010.
In a unanimous decision of seven justices, the court held that INEC erred when despite the pendency of the matter went ahead to conduct elections into the office of the governor of
Anambra State when the said seat was not vacant.
But as Obi’s tenure was coming to an end with a new poll to be conducted on
February 6, 2010, Uba again approached the court to affirm that he is the governor-elect on the basis of the same 2007 governorship poll.
The incessant applications by Uba over the governorship seat had angered both the Supreme Court and NBA.
In June this year, the apex court put paid to Uba’s struggles to revalidate the cancelled 2007 governorship poll as the court said the matter was closed.
Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Idris Legho Kutigi, who presided over the application for a judicial review, said the court carefully considered the arguments of parties through their lawyers and came to the conclusion that it was a gross abuse of judicial process.
He said the court could not re-open the case that had come to it three times and had been decided on merit, adding that it is trite in law that there must be an end to litigation.
Voiding Uba’s election earlier, the court in the lead judgment delivered by Justice Iyorger Kastina-Alu had held that “there being no dispute that Governor Obi took his oath of office on
March 17, 2006, his tenure of office shall expire on March 17, 2010”.
The court also came down heavily on Uba’s lawyer, J.B. Dawodu (SAN), for bringing the application even when Uba’s previous lawyer knew that the action was wrong.

“What kind of country is this where Senior Advocates of Nigeria are used to mess up the judiciary? They went and brought you (Daudu) to handle this kind of mess! We will not allow this kind of practice. This is wrong! The appellant has been shuttling from one court to another on a matter that the Supreme Court had already delivered judgment. If the Supreme Court makes a mistake, there are procedures of correcting the mistakes; not this way, and we will not allow it…Where are we going in this country?  We can only set aside the judgment in case there is corruption or collision. They had earlier brought an application asking us to set aside our judgment. They knew that they were wrong and they withdrew the matter. The former lawyer knew that he was wrong and he withdrew.”
But undaunted, Uba through his counsel, Chief Ajibola Aribisala (SAN), had filed a fresh lawsuit at the Court of Appeal in Enugu, seeking an order directing that he was duly elected governor by virtue of the gubernatorial election of April 2007.
He therefore asked the court for to pronounce him the elected governor of the state having being declared winner by INEC in 2007.
He sought a motion barring INEC from conducting a fresh election into the office of governor pending the determination of the new suit and a declaratory order on an earlier judgment by the same court that he remains the duly elected governor of Anambra in the April 14, 2007 election and requesting that the court direct that he take over from Obi on March 17, 2010 when his tenure is due to lapse.
Olanipekun, in an interview he granted THISDAY Lawyer in June shortly after Uba’s application was thrown out by the Supreme Court, had described as despicable situations where litigants, aided by their lawyers, rush back to the Supreme Court to review cases the court had already determined.
He added that as a lawyer and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and former NBA President, he would not encourage it.
Olanipekun had said he would caution the Bar and the Bench to ensure that the legal system in the country was not ridiculed.
“I as a lawyer, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and former President of the NBA would not encourage this. I would caution the Bar and the Bench to ensure that the legal system in this country not ridiculed. The principle of law which has remained sacrosanct is that there must be an end to litigation. When a case is completed, you don’t exhume it as if you are doing autopsy on it. Its only when you want to do autopsy that you go and exhume a corpse. Completed cases should not be exhumed. This is not done in any part of the common law jurisdiction which we belong to! The Constitution says that the Supreme Court is the final court in
Nigeria. After the Supreme Court, it is the judgment of God. Things were not like this before,” he had said.


Chief Wole Olanipekun, sane art thou! Like the dog that returns to its vomit, would thou take back thy word?