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‘Why Senator Emodi returned to court’

By ANAYO OKOLI
THE Legislative Assistant to Senator Joy Emordi, Mr. Chinedu Onyeizugbe, has explained that the senator returned to the court to seek judicial interpretation of the decision of the Enugu Division of the Court of Appeal, which nullified her election last month, because of the two declarations made by the court in the case.

The court had nullified the election of Emodi representing Anambra North Senatorial District, and declared the ANPP candidate in the election, Chief Alphonsus Igbeke, the winner. The lower tribunal had upheld the return made by INEC.

This was barely one year the same court had declared that Emodi’s return was valid in a petition brought before it by the candidate of Labour Party, Mrs. Jessie Balonwu, who had challenged the declaration made by INEC.

According to Onyizugbe, the explanation became necessary because Igbeke, who was declared as the winner in the second declaration made by the court, has been castigating Emodi and other senators that they are frustrating his being sworn-in, and has been going about giving the public wrong information just to whip up sentiment.

Meanwhile, International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law (Intersociety) has called on the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the president of Court of Appeal to urgently look into the application for judicial interpretation made by Emodi. The group said there is need for the interpretation of the two contradicting declarations said to have been made by the Enugu Court of Appeal so as to save the judiciary from the controversy raised by the judgment.

In a statement by the chairman of the board of the organization, Nze Emeka Umeagbalasi, the judiciary as the bastion of democracy must be seen to be transparent and ensure that its decisions are very clear. According to the group, what is worrisome is that two justices of the court were members of the panel that made the first declaration in a case involving Mrs. Jessie Balonwu of the Labour Party  who challenged the same return made by INEC in favour of Emodi, and they were also part of the same panel that made the second declaration.  Umeagbalasi said there was need for the court to interpret the declarations and see if there was contradiction so as to save the judiciary.

However, Onyneizuigbe explained that Emodi’s mission is to see that things are done properly and for the good of the country. According to him, as a lawyer, the senator wants the matter straightened up, and not to frustrate Igbeke as he goes about alleging and whipping up unnecessary sentiments.

“At the lower tribunal, an allegation of forgery was even made against the petitioner, who was accused of parading an ‘oven baked results’, yet the Court of Appeal did not take it serious.

This is not issue of whipping public sentiments. We are not castigating the justices for their judgment, our only concern is the issue of two declarations in one matter and Senator Emodi is simply asking for judicial interpretation of the two declarations.

In any case, whichever way the interpretation goes, it will enrich the nation’s judiciary and democracy. Senator Emodi is not desperate to be in the Senate, after all, within the years she has been there her quality representation is there to speak for her.”

She only wants things to be straightened up for the good of the country.


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