Following Wednesday’s arrest warrant served on the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Mahmood Yakubu by a federal high court sitting in Abuja for failing to appear before it, INEC has said that lawyers to Yakubu had communicated to the Court that he was traveling for official assignments and will be unavailable.
A source within the commission, who preferred anonymity, said on Thursday that the official duties which the INEC boss embarked on had already been fixed before the court adjournment.
The source noted that the INEC chairman is on a 10-day trip to some West African countries in his capacity as the chairman of ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC).
The source also stated that the Commission had filed an appeal on the case but the case proceeded in spite of the appeal. However, under Order 4 Rule 11 of the Court of Appeal rules, the Federal High Court cannot proceed until the appeal is determined.
“It was gathered that the attention of Justice Stephen Pam of the Federal High Court was drawn to this but nevertheless proceeded the way he did.
“This matter exposes the high corruption that some in the judiciary have been enmeshed in; ridiculing that noble arm of government. The matter is about a tussle in the Anambra PDP over who is the actual Chairman of the party, a matter that the Supreme Court in its wisdom had ruled and even interpreted its ruling in a major landmark move about two years ago. Don’t also forget that this is a case that predated appointment the appointment of the current Chairman. It started in 2014 under his predecessor. It is a case in which any sitting INEC Chairman and not Mahmood Yakubu as a person will bear the can in official capacity.
“Truth is one of the parties to the matter who lost out in the Apex Court’s judgement decided to try his luck at the lower courts.
“So, his god answered his prayers and miraculously got the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to become interested in a matter that the Supreme Court had decided. The judge started shopping for other judges to try the matter but all declined.
“Five Judges in the Abuja jurisdiction that this the Chief Judge sent the case to declined and returned the case file to him,” the source added.
The source explained that the Chief Judge eventually brought in a vacation judge from Taraba State to determine the case during vacation.
“The ruling was made by a vacation judge after 5 judges in Abuja refused to handle it and returned the case file to the CJ of the Federal High Court,” the source said.