Supreme Court upholds Okadigbo’s widow’s election as senator

The Supreme Court on Friday declared Margaret Chuba-Okadigbo, widow of former Senate President, Chuba Okadigbo, as the duly elected senator for Anambra North

Mrs Okadigbo had been locked in a three-way battle with Alphonsus Igbeke and John Emeka over who of the trio should occupy the seat, won by the Peoples Democratic Party in the April 2011 election.

None of the trio had occupied the seat since.

Her late husband was elected to the seat in 1999 and went on to become Senate president.

The senatorial district had not had any  form of representation at the upper legislative arm of the National Assembly owing to the series of controversies that trailed the conduct of primary election for the selection of the PDP’s  candidate by various factions of the highly fractured party in the state.

The Supreme Court panel led by Justice Chukwuma Eneh held that Mrs Okadigbo emerged winner of the primaries conducted by the legally recorgnised faction of the party.

The court also held that the appellant, Mr Emeka who brought the suit before it does not have the locus to have instituted the appeal challenging the Court of Appeal’s decision which returned Mrs Okadigbo since he did not participate in the primary.

However the court decline to order for the swearing of Mrs Okadigbo on the grounds that it was not part of the reliefs sought by Mrs Okadigbo.

The apex court advised Mrs Okadigbo’s lawyers to file further processes to obtain such an order.

 

Judge summons Senator Igbeke over forgery

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday ordered Alphonsus Ubanesse Igbeke, the Senator representing Anambra North senatorial district to appear before it to answer charges of forgery.

The Attorney General of the Federation in a suit “the Federal Republic of Nigeria vs.Senator Alphonsus Igbeke,” filed a two-count of criminal forgery and perjury against Mr Igbeke.

The suit, with charge number FHC/ABJCF/44/11 reveals that Mr Igbeke allegedly forged the senatorial primary result sheet for the People Democratic Party (PDP) of Anambra North senatorial district.

According to the fake result sheet, the embattled Senator was adjudged winner, having polled One thousand one hundred and seventy three (1,173) votes, while John Emeka (Jnr) came a distant third with One hundred and fifty six (156) votes.

The two count charge against Mr Igbeke reads:

COUNT ONE: That you, Alphonsus Uba Igbeke (M) on or about the 21st day of January, 2011 in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nigeria, did make a forged document described as the Senatorial Primary Result Sheet for People Democratic Party(PDP) of Anambra North Zone Knowing it to be false to wit: you falsely represented the votes scored by the aspirants as follows:

John Emeka (Jnr) – 1562

Chief A Igbeke – 1173

Chief Dennis Odife – 154

Hon Uzoka Okwudili – 345

Hon Celestine Ughnaze – 297

Chief Tony Nnacheta – 25

COUNT TWO: That you, Alphonsus Uba Igbeke (M) on or about the 21st day of January, 2011 in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nigeria, did make a forged document described as the Senatorial Primary Result Sheet for People Democratic Party (PDP) of Anambra North Zone Knowing it to be false to wit: you falsely represented the votes scored by the aspirants as follows:

John Emeka (Jnr) – 156

Chief A Igbeke – 1,173

Chief Dennis Odife – 154

Hon Uzoka Okwudili – 345

Hon Celestine Ughnaze – 297

Chief Tony Nnacheta – 25

With intent that it may be used by yourself to buttress your prayer to the Federal High Court in Suit No.FHC/ABJ/CS/189/2011/ to be declared winner of the Senatorial Party Primary to the prejudice of John Emeka the real winner and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (2)(c) of the miscellaneous Offences Act 2004 and punishable under Section 1(2)of the said act.

Justice Adamu Bello, who ruled on the application, countered the application of opposing counsel on whether the defendant’s motion to quash charges against him can be considered without arraignment and taking of plea.

The Judge, after considering the arguments by counsel – ordered that until the accused person is arraigned in court he cannot seek the indulgence of the court to hear his motion to quash charges against him.

Justice Bello further ruled that the accused must first appear in court to take his plea, and any objection on jurisdiction cannot be raised before arraignment.

On the application of the prosecution for a bench warrant to compel the accused person to appear in court, he urged that the first step is to issue a court summons to the accused. Failure to respond to the summons will then lead to a bench warrant being issued.

The trial judge then adjourned the case to 22nd of May 2012.