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Anambra guber polls: Rights group writes Appeal Court president

By Vincent Ujumadu
AWKA — A HUMAN rights group, the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law, Intersociety, has in a letter addressed to the President of the Court, Justice Ayo Isa Salami, warned against returning the state to the riotous era through the judiciary.

The warning came on the heels that some powerful politicians in the country were making spirited moves to influence the outcome of the appeal case coming up next Monday in Enugu.

The letter ref: Intersociety/Vol.07/12/2010/CA/P/ABJ/Nig, and signed by the Chairman, Board of Trustee, Mr. Emeka Umeagbalasi, and Head of Publicity Desk, Comrade Justus Ijeoma, read in part:   “We earlier released a two-page letter to Your Lordship over the subject matter above, but few hours after the departure of the letter, calls from different quarters were directed to us over rumour in some quarters that plans have been made to use negative judicial means to return Anambra State of Nigeria to a riotous era.

“It is also rumoured that some members of the panel set up to review the consolidated appeals are sympathetic to certain political camps desperate to have their way without recourse to fair proceedings.

“The rumour also has it that some politicians belonging to a particular political party are boasting that Your Lordship is sympathetic to a leader of the party in Nigeria.”

The rumour was reportedly predicated on recent popular election petitions judgments in some states in a particular geopolitical zone, which favoured the said political party. A certain presidential aspirant who is said to be well_connected to the Bench was fingered as their anchor person.

“Ordinarily, these rumours may not have worth our writing to Your Lordship, but in Nigeria, no rumour is taken lightly until its falsehood is fully established. Nigeria has become a country of impossibility where anything goes.

“This is a country where a legislative election matter with a four_year mandate has been made to last for 2 ½ years at a Division of the Court of Appeal after it was heard for only one year at its original proceedings at the tribunal. In a country like this, anything goes, more so when judges’ judgments nowadays are reportedly derived from “facts before them” no matter their sources and efficacy.

“Technical justice has almost become a sin_qua non in our   jurisprudence. After all, was it not in Nigeria that a State High Court Judge made an order unseating a civilian governor in another State? In every rumour they say, there is an iota of truth.

“These desperate politicians are believed to be so connected to some Justices of the Court of Appeal and thus placed to influence/obtain judgments according to their whims.

“To them, Anambra gubernatorial case is already a fait accompli. But to us, these are mere rumours, though it will be suicidal if they turn out to be a reality at the end. Anambra State must not be made to earn a pariah status again!  We are watching and shall continue to watch till the end.”

Vanguard recalls that the five –member election petition tribunal headed by Justice Pius Damulak delivered a judgment favour of Governor Peter Obi in the matter brought before it by the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) against the governor who won the February 6, 2010 election on the platform of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

Not satisfied with the judgment, the HDP appealed and the case is due for judgment on Monday.


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