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Inec Chairman Shuns Summons From Federal High Court
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Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday, July 10, failed to honour a court order directing him to appear in court or risk going to jail.

Justice Stephen Pam of the Taraba division of the Federal High Court but sitting in Abuja on the directives of the Chief Judge of the court gave the order on Thursday, July 5.

At the resumed hearing, counsel to Yakubu, Mr Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) told the court that it was the right of a respondent to decide if he wanted to be heard during vacation.

Awomolo said that he had not consented to his case been heard during the court’s vacation.

His words: “There is also no affidavit of urgency stating that the case needs to be urgently heard. I also want to notify the court that I have filed an appeal against the ruling.

“I have also filed an application praying further hearing to be stopped until the appeal is heard and determined by the Court of Appeal.”

The senior lawyer added that in any case, he was not in the right frame of mind to argue the matter because he had lost his mother and wanted to go and bury her.

Mr Chris Uche, (SAN) counsel to the other party Mr Ejike Oguebego, however, said that the chief judge in the exercise of his administrative discretion, agreed to having the matter heard during the vacation.

“Order 46(5) of the court rules that govern vacation has two arms and it makes room for a case to be heard during vacation except on a Sunday or public holiday.

“Where the action is urgent or where the parties apply, and in this case, given the nature of the case, the chief judge applied his administrative discretion in our favour.

“This is a preelection matter which started since 2014, what could be more urgent,” he wondered.

Justice Pam in a short ruling said that court orders must be obeyed and counsel must ensure that their clients obeyed them.

He said: “Counsel must desist from making their clients disregard orders of court. Consistent disregard of orders of court amount to contempt of court.

“An applicant cannot while continuing to be in contempt of court, seek the court’s favour.”

According to the judge, the fiat issued by the chief judge to hear this matter during vacation is still subsisting and the case will go on during the vacation.

“The contemnor must appear in person before this court on the next adjourned date,” he added.

He adjourned the matter until Wednesday, August 1 to allow Awomolo go and bury his mother. (NAN).

Meanwhile, INEC has given assurances that the Ekiti state governorship election slated for Saturday, July 14, cannot be rigged, due to the quality ICT infrastructure in place.

The commission said the notion peddled in some quarters that the election will be rigged runs contrary to the reality on ground.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Ekiti state, Abdulganiy Raji, gave the assurance in Ido Ekiti on Tuesday, June 12, during a town hall meeting entitled, Vote not Fight, organised to sensitise the youth ahead of the election.

As NAIJ. Had special report on Anambra governorship election .

@flexible


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