Thursday, 29 February, 2024

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How Sen. Ali Ndume’s Aides Had A Copy Of Election Tribunal Ruling Before Judges’ Ruling — Activist Petitions NJC To Probe Officers


A human rights activist, Sesugh Akume, has petitioned the Chief Justice of Nigeria/Chairman National Judicial Council (NJC), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, to probe six judicial officers for what he described as gross misconduct.

The petition which was received and acknowledged by the office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria on November 29, 2023, was brought pursuant to the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of Federal Republic of Nigeria 2016, Section 2 under “Application of the Code.”

Titled: “Petition/complaint on misconduct and/or misbehaviour against: M E Anenih J, A I Ityonyiman J, A O Adeniji, and Biobale Abraham Georgewill JCA, Folashade Ayodeji Ojo JCA, Peter Chudi Obiorah JCA,” the Petitioner (Akume) decried the perverse judgement in the matter of Kudla M Satumai & PDP v INEC, APC & Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume with Election Petition Number EPT/BOR/SEN/02/2013, delivered on 8 September 2023, and Appeal Number CA/G/EP/SEN/BR/04/2023, delivered on 2 November 2023, at the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja respectively.

Akume, while calling on the NJC to investigate the circumstances around the complaint and bring the offending judicial officers to book, said it was preposterous that aides and supporters of Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, a Respondent in the Tribunal, had details of the tribunal judgement and gleefully shared the outcome of the judgement on the morning of September 8, 2023, before the tribunal read the judgement in the afternoon.

Citing lots of perversion in both judgements of the Election Petition Tribunal and the Court of Appeal, Akume reminded NJC Chairman of the Report on Pilot Survey published by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) where the judiciary tops in bribes demanded, offered and paid.

The petition partly read: “The complaint is made against M E Anenih J, A I Ityonyiman J, and A O Adeniji J, for their perverse judgement in the matter of Kudla M Satumai & PDP v INEC, APC & Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume with Election Petition Number EPT/BOR/SEN/02/2013, delivered on 8 September 2023, at the National and State House of Assembly Election, Borno, sitting in Maiduguri, and Biobale Abraham Georgewill JCA, Folashade Ayodeji Ojo JCA, Peter Chudi Obiorah JCA, for their perverse judgement in the matter of Kudla M Satumari & PDP v INEC, APC & Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume with Appeal Number CA/G/EP/SEN/BR/04/2023, delivered on 2 November 2023, at the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja.

“In the said election petition tribunal judgement, the judges arrived at many conclusions that the Court of Appeal found to be perverse and repeatedly stated so on the record.

“The tribunal held that further evidence provided in response to a counter filed by the opposing side was inadmissible for being filed out of time as it ought to have been filed from the outset! It held that any testimony given by an individual perusing documents tendered was ‘mere’ hearsay as long as the individual was not physically present when the documents were produced!

“These are two of numerous ludicrous holdings by the tribunal to arrive at what appears to be a predetermined judgement, walking from the answer to the question, just in order to return the 3rd respondent as the duly-elected senator for Borno South.

“It is worth noting that aides and supporters of Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume had details of the tribunal judgement and gleefully shared the outcome of the judgement on the morning of 8 September before the tribunal read the judgement in the afternoon. …It then begs the question, “How did the supporters get details of the outcome of a judgement that was yet to be delivered?

“The Court of Appeal in its perverse judgement dismissed most of the findings of the tribunal but in the end still upheld its judgement. The Court of Appeal, for instance, held that the appellants did not prove a case of forgery, mutilation, or defacing of results sheets having seen the forged, mutilated, defaced result sheets or how the hundreds of forged, mutilated, defaced results sheets affected the outcome of the election! …The court held to stringent and Impossible requirements to prove the same even though forgery has repeatedly been defined to include altering an original document. See Nigerian Air Force v James (2002) 18 NWLR (Pt 798) 295, and numerous such authorities.”

He noted that the Court of Appeal at page 42 of the judgement, per Georgewill JCA conceded that: “I find the evaluation by the lower Tribunal of the evidence of PW1-PW47, the witnesses called by the Appellants, the evidence of RW1, and the totality of the evidence led before it by the parties, was flawless and the findings and decisions on the merit of the claims of the Appellants against the Respondents are unassailable and must therefore, be allowed to stand.

“And yet, the same court upheld the judgement of the tribunal! It is judicial abracadabra as this which makes no meaning to the average reasonable person that continues to bring the judiciary to disrepute and erode whatever confidence the public might have had in the independence, integrity, impartiality, and respectability of the judiciary in Nigeria.

“The NJC would do well to investigate the circumstances around this complaint and bring the offending judicial officers to book in order to begin redeeming the standing and image of the judiciary,” the petition reads.

Credit: The Nigeria Lawyer

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