S’Court dismisses all appeals by Uzoh, Chris Uba against Ifeanyi Ubah [update]
The Supreme Court has dismissed all appeals by Barrister Obinna Uzoh and Chris Uba challenging the election of Senator Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah as Senator representing Anambra South Senatorial District.
Senator Ifeanyi Ubah was elected on the platform of the newly-formed Young Progressives Party [YPP].
He defeated several bigwigs in Anambra State to emerge victorious including Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu of the state ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance [APGA], Senator Andy Ubah of the federal ruling All Progressives Congress [APC], and Chief Chris Ubah of the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP].
He also defeated Barrister Uzoh of the PDP, who alleged that he emerged without primary election accredited by the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC].
Uzoh is now at large after it was discovered that he forged several court and INEC documents.
Two of his lawyers, including his son, were arrested and detained in prison facility while his legal team leader is also at large.
The Journey So Far
Senator Dr Ifeanyi Ubah is the only national assembly member from Anambra state that was elected on February 23, 2019 that’s still in court till date.
The detractors who couldn’t stop him at the polling units vowed to keep him busy in court till 2023. They planed to distract him, frustrate his plans and ensure his four year mandate was a waste.
Among the three senators from Anambra state, none went through the level of litigation that the political enemies of Senator Ikemba Ifeanyi Ubah subjected him to.
In Anambra north, Senator Stella Oduah was taken to the election petition tribunal by Dr Chinedu Emeka of APGA. Once the tribunal gave its judgement and upheld the election of Senator Oduah, Chinedu Emeka respected the decision of the tribunal and didn’t even approach the Appeal court.
In Anambra central senatorial zone, Senator Victor Umeh of APGA challenged the election of Iyom Uche Ekwunife up to the Appeal court Enugu, where he lost and accepted his fate.
But in Anambra south, it was a different story. The election of Senator Dr Ikemba Ifeanyi Ubah was a shock to the establishment. They never believed that he could win the senate from an unknown party with no structure after the frustrations he experienced in APGA.
At the end of the election, Chief Nicholas Ukachukwu of APGA accepted defeat. Senator Andy Uba of APC quietly went to the tribunal. But chief Chris Ubah of PDP constituted himself a stumbling block.
Immediately the result was announced by the returning officer, Prof Umunweke on February 24, 2019, Chief Chris Uba maneuvered the process and got the returning officer who had earlier declared Ifeanyi Ubah the winner of the election to turn around and declare the election inconclusive.
After the election was declared inconclusive, the returning officer who is a professor of law began to investigate the allegation of election violence which Chris Uba alleged in his petition that caused the declaration of the election inconclusive.
At the conclusion of his investigation, he found out that Chris Uba misled him into declaring the election inconclusive. He therefore retrieved his letter to INEC and stood by his earlier declaration that Ifeanyi Ubah was duly elected.
Within 24 hours, Chris Uba attempted arresting the returning officer. He ignored the national assembly election petition tribunal which was yet to sit and rushed to the federal high court Awka and filed a suit, asking the court to grant him leave to arrest and prosecute the returning officer.
The question many asked was why he wanted the returning officer arrested and prosecuted? What offense did Prof Umunweke commit?
The case went on at the federal high court Awka and surprisingly the judge in his ruling asked INEC to prosecute the returning officer for Anambra south senatorial zone if the commission feels there was any infractions. The case went up to the Appeal court to Supreme court and Eselu lost.
That was the first stage of litigation against the election of Senator Dr Ikemba Ifeanyi Ubah.
Chris Ubah who vowed to stop Ifeanyi Ubah from going to senate was not resting. While he was chasing the returning officer around, he was also at the tribunal with his brother, Senator Andy Ubah.
At the tribunal he lost in a unanimous decision of the court and he approached the Appeal court Enugu. At the Appellate court, his appeal with that of his brother, Andy Uba were also dismissed. At this point, Andy Uba moved on.
Since Appeal court is the last court for national assembly post election matters, we all thought it was over. But the enemies were busy planning and plotting. Like a criminal who comes through the backdoor, Dr Obinna Uzo showed up from nowhere and began to flash a court judgement purportedly delivered on April 2017 by an FCT high court, Kubwa.
In the judgement, Obinna Uzo alleged that the NECO certificate Uba submitted to INEC was fake. This procured criminal judgement made headlines as the judgement sacked the YPP senator and ordered the swearing in of Obinna Uzo.
This threw another round of litigation. Because the judgement was back dated to April 2019 to maintain the status of a pre election matter, it became difficult for the judgement to be appealed. Ubah had no other option than to file an application to vacate the judgement based on the fact that it was obtained by fraud. Ubah was not aware of the judgement and was never served.
The judge who was part of the conspiracy refused the application and the matter proceeded to the Appeal court Abuja. In other to play safe despite his appeal pending at the Appeal court, the YPP senator obtained an order stopping INEC from acting on the judgement of the Kubwa area high court.
At this juncture, Chief Chris Uba of PDP showed up again. He filed a joinder application asking the court to issue him and not Obinna Uzo with the certificate of return. The court turned down his application and he went to Appeal court.
While his case was at the Appeal court, Eselu went behind to procure an order of Mandamus at another area court, Abuja. The area court ordered INEC to issue the certificate of return to Chief Chris Uba as the authentic candidate of PDP in 2019 Anambra south senatorial election.
The court also ordered the senate president to swear in Chief Chris Uba as the senator representing Anambra south senatorial zone.
The moment the order was obtained, Eselu sent message to his boys that he had removed Ifeanyi Ubah and displaced Obinna Uzo. His boys especially those at Uga, his home town began to celebrate, popping champagne and disturbing the peace of ndi Uga.
He took the kangaroo order to INEC for enforcement, but he met a formidable resistance. While he was pushing to be issued with a certificate of return, Ifeanyi Ubah obtained an order asking INEC and the leadership of the national assembly not to act on the Order of Mandamus pending the determination of the substantive suit before the court.
This was what saved the day. Eselu was disarmed and out of frustration, he went back to the area court, praying the court to jail the INEC chairman for contempt.
As the drama was playing out, the appeal at the Appeal court Abuja was ready. The capacity senator, Dr Ifeanyi Ubah defeated Obinna Uzo and Chris Uba at the Appeal.
Not satisfied, they went to the Supreme court. And today it ended in praise.
Let me remind our readers that Obinna Uzo is facing criminal prosecution. The FG through the police discovered that Obinna Uzo conspired with Barr Eziafa Samuel and others to forge various court documents which they used to obtain the judgement at Kubwa area court.
The police found out that the judgement itself was back dated. The process was fake and they began to arrest those involved in it. The judge is facing NJC disciplinary committee, while the court staff including the registrar are facing internal disciplinary action.
From February 24, 2019 when the result was announced to date, Senator Dr Ikemba Ifeanyi Ubah has gone through 10 court cases and in all he was vindicated.
Today, I announce that ‘na ogu ebego.’ The distractions are over.
Additional information by Eneh Victor Chigozie.