Abia Guber Tussle: Supreme Court And The Burden Of Justice


by Uche Aguoru

As Abians await the most critical date in the political history of the state, with judgment having been reserved for the 12th of May 2017, in a pre-election matter relating to presentation of false information and lying under oath as established by Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah against Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, which is currently being entertained at the Supreme Court, the nation’s terminal point in administration of justice.

Abia Guber Tussle
Uche Ogah vs Okezie Ikpeazu

The Supreme Court has dished out a very critical judgment; similar to what is being expected in the Abia matter come 12th of May 2017.

In a judgment delivered by the apex court over who is the rightful candidate in a PDP House of Representatives primary election in Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadigbo Federal Constituency of Benue State.

In their ruling, The Supreme Court on Friday affirmed the judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja sacking Mr. Christian Abah as a member of the House of Representatives. Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court in Abuja had in his judgment delivered on February 8, 2016 sacked Abah for submitting a forged certificate of academic qualification to the Independent National Electoral Commission.

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The five-man panel of the apex court justices led by Justice Mary Peter-Odili, ruled on Friday that having been found to have forged the Ordinary National Diploma certificate purportedly issued to him in 1985, by the Federal Polytechnic, Mubi, Adamawa State, Christian Abah remained constitutionally disqualified to contest the election into the National Assembly.

You will recall that just as in the Abia case involving Dr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah and Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, the Justices of the Appeal Court rather than look into the merits of the matter brought before it decided to judge the case based on technicalities arising from filing process. Such was the case when Mr. Christian Abah brought the judgment of the lower court to the Appeal Court against  Mr. Hassan Saleh.

The Appeal Court threw away the judgment of the Federal High Court on technical grounds without recourse to the deserved constitutional rights of the issue brought before it, that caused Saleh to head to the Supreme Court.

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While delivering judgment Justice Bageh along with five other justices of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Mary Odili, affirmed the earlier verdict of the Federal High Court, Abuja, and set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal which had dismissed the matter on technical grounds.

Justice Bageh held that criminality such as certificate forgery must not be allowed to continue to “contaminate” the nation’s polity, he said whenever the opportunity presented itself,that the Supreme Court had the responsibility of righting the wrongs.

He further stated that sacking Abah was the beginning of the purification efforts.

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Justice Bage held, In this court, it is a must, to take the lead in righting the wrongs in our society if and when the opportunity presents itself as in this appeal.

In his closing remarks he reiterated the need for the purification of the justice system, and said, efforts must start now and be sustained as we seek, as a nation, to now change from our old culture of reckless impunity.

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One significant factor that everyone must watch out for in this judgment is that both parties to the suit are of the PDP extraction and the court disregarded the APC candidate that came second in the general election to reward the second runner up in the party primaries with the matter having originated as a pre-election matter.

But the most cheering news is that while the appeal court has decided to keep killing justice through technicalities the Supreme Court has resolved to right every wrong.

Given this comforting pronouncement coming from the justices of the Supreme Court, it has become very glaring that Dr. Uche Ogah`s victory has been assured come may 12th 2017. Since the God of justice has decided to visit Nigeria, and Abia is set to benefit from this long awaited visit, Abians will soon look up with their heads high and say we are Abians, we are great.

Uche Aguoru | Writes from Umuahia


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