Are the actions of a political party – especially as related to the election of its officers strictly an internal affair of the party, even when they violate their own procedures? Please read the two articles below and consider the extent to which our judiciary should beware of rendering political judgements. Pause also to consider; what is the difference between the imposition of Professor Chukwuma Soludo as the gubernatorial candidate of Anambra state for the February 6, 2010 and the imposition of the Osita Ogbu-led Caretaker Committee of the party in Anambra state?
It is no surprise that The ruling handed down, last Thursday, by a five -member panel of the Supreme Court clearing Prof Charles Soludo to run for the Anambra gubernatorial poll slated for February 6, 2010 on the platform of ruling PDP is tearing the apex court apart as reports indicate that majority of serving justices of the Supreme Court, including the outgoing Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi, disagreed with the position of the court on the matter.
In a a 1982 ruling, the Nigerian Supreme Court said: “whatever the political party hierarchy does, including manipulating its own internal rules, no matter how undemocratic, then its decisions are supreme.”
However, this ruling was set aside in 2002, and most recently Justice Nikki Tobi held that Political parties were to abide by the constitution and that every case was held on its own merit.
Anambra: Court Rules against PDP Caretaker C’ttee // Soludo’s clearance for Anambra 2010 guber poll tears S/Court apart
An Abuja High Court presided over by Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf has again ruled against the Peoples Democratic Party over the constitution of the Osita Ogbu-led Caretaker Com-mittee of the party in Anambra state.
The dissolved state executive committee of the party led by Chief Ben Udeozor as acting chairman, Chief ROC Okpalaeke and other members of the state executive had gone to court claiming that their tenure in office was not over before they were dissolved by the National Executive Working Committee (NWC) led by Prince Vincent Ogbulafor.
The Ogbulafor led NWC had set up the Dr. Osita Ogbu committee to midwife the affairs of the party pending when a new state executive committee conducts a new election.
Even the last National Executive Committee meeting had also ratified the appointment of the Osita Ogbu Caretaker Comm-ittee, insisting that the state executive committee’s tenure had expired.
But Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf sitting in Court Seven in the High Court, Abuja issued a restraining order against the constitution and inauguration of the caretaker committee.
Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf in suit number CV/42/09 ordered PDP to revert to the status quo pending the final determination of the suit before the court.
The court ordered the Osita Ogbu-led committee to stop parading itself as office holders till the suit before it is determined.
The order which was given Thursday was officially served on the National Legal Adviser of the PDP, Chief Olusola Oke yesterday.
In his reaction, the National Legal Adviser said that the party would appeal against the judgement of Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf latest by Monday as the party cannot allow for a vacuum.
According to Olusola Oke, “what the FCT court did was a reversal of the caretaker committee and the implication is that the PDP has no functional state executive committee in Anambra state.
“What happened was that the tenure of that executive had expired and PDP set up a caretaker committee to avoid a vacuum.
“We are not aware of this matter in court; it was not brought to our attention at the time the suit was instituted.
“So what are doing is to appeal this case latest by Monday. This executive led by Chief Uchenna Emodi before he resigned to contest the governorship primary election in the state was recognised by the party, but when the tenure of the state executive expired, we ceased to recognis the executive.” he explained.
THISDAY gathered that the state executive committee, which by the court’s ruling has been reinstated, is the one that is loyal to party chieftain Chris Uba, a rabid opponent of the PDP gubernatorial candidate, Professor Chukwuma Soludo.
The implication of this for Soludo’s candidature is that the state executive led by acting chairman Ben Udeozor may not be supportive of the Soludo/Anosike ticket, as members of the Chris Uba group are the same people that went to court to stop Soludo.
The former Central Bank of Nigeria governor was given a new lease to contest the Anambra February election unimpeded by the Supreme Court last Thursday.
Soludo’s clearance for Anambra 2010 guber poll tears S/Court apart
The ruling handed down, last Thursday, by a five -member panel of the Supreme Court clearing Prof Charles Soludo to run for the Anambra gubernatorial poll slated for February 6, 2010 on the platform of ruling PDP is tearing the apex court apart.
Specifically, Saturday Vanguard authoritatively gathered yesterday that majority of serving justices of the Supreme Court, including the outgoing Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi, disagreed with the position of the court on the matter.
According to an impeccable source close to the CJN preferring anonymity, the angry justices of the court believed that the verdict was more political than judicial.
Already, Justice Kutigi had summoned the five justices who sat on the case Thursday to a crucial meeting.
The justices include George Adesola Oguntade, Fedode Tabai, Mohammed Tanko, Olufunmilayo Adekeye and John Fabiyi.
Justice Oguntade delivered the lead ruling in the case
All other justices in the case also delivered their verdicts concurring with Justice Oguntade’s reasoning.
They all honoured the invitation of the CJN with the exception of Justice Oguntade who was said to have flown to Abuja soon after the case Thursday.
Saturday Vanguard visited the Supreme Court yesterday to see the support staff of the apex court discussing the matter in hushed tones.
Some of the apex court staff shared the sentiment of the CJN while others queried his interest in the case.
But a source close to Kutigi said he meant well.
He said he could keep quiet over the issue since he has less than two weeks to retire from the bench.
“Kutigi and other concerned justices were of the view that the bad judgment delivered in Amaechi’s case was enough for the judiciary to contend with. You know the verdict of the Supreme Court in Amaechi’s case impeached certain provision of the 1999 constitution to the effect that you can’t be a state governor without standing election.
“You know Amaechi never stood election and yet he was made a Governor.
“It was a bad judgment and the Supreme Court knows but they are just hiding under the cover of being a final court of the land and explain its position away with another provision of the constitution which forbids independent candidacy.
“You know it was also Justice Oguntade that delivered the lead judgment in the case.
“The fear is that having a multitude of bad judgments is capable of destroying the judiciary,” he added