INEC Chairman Shuns Court Order
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mr Mahmud Yakubu, failed to appear before a Federal High Court which ordered him to appear and show cause why he should not be committed to prison on contempt charges.
At the resumed sitting of the court after it made the order, counsel to the INEC Chairman, Mr Adeboyega Awomolo, told the court that his client had filed an appeal challenging that order at the appeal court and another appeal before the Federal High Court asking for a stay of proceedings pending the determination of the appeal.
The counsel to the INEC Chairman also told the court that his client was bereaved and in no frame of mind to handle the hearing.
Responding, however, the counsel to the plaintiff informed the court that contrary to the claims of the INEC counsel there was no material evidence before the court to stop the order of the court or the hearing.
He also argued that a court sitting is at the prerogative of the court and not parties in the suit as such the application for adjournment should be discountenanced.
In his ruling, Justice Stephen Pam held that the fiat by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to hear the matter subsists.
He also warned lawyers to desist from the habit of advising their clients to disregard orders of courts as it constitutes contempt of court.
The judge then held that a party cannot continue to be contemptuous towards the court and at the same time seek the favour of the court.
He, however, agreed to adjourn the case to allow the INEC chairman to attend to his mother’s funeral but insisted that the INEC boss must appear before the court as ordered at the next sitting.
Justice Pam adjourned the case to August 1, 2018, for the INEC Chairman to appear before the court to show cause as to why he should not be committed to prison for contempt.
The Federal High Court had on July 5, 2018, had ordered the INEC Chairman to appear before it after dismissing a preliminary objection filed by the INEC boss and the commission challenging contempt proceedings against them.