Again, INEC Raises Concerns About Conflicting Court Orders

A file photo of INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu.


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has again expressed concerns over the conflicting court orders granted to political parties and their candidates.

INEC Chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu raised the concerns at a meeting with political party leaders in Abuja, ahead of the governorship election in Anambra State.

“It appears that in a number of electoral cases in Nigeria today, the settled law is now unsettled and the time-honoured principle of certain decisions doesn’t seem to matter anymore,” Professor Yakubu said.

“The more INEC strives to improve the credibility and transparency of our electoral process, the more obstacles are put in our way through litigation.”

These conflicting court orders, the INEC boss warned, pose major challenges for the electoral process and are capable of hurting the country’s democracy.

“I’m aware that some of the cases are still court and are therefore subjudice,” Professor Yakubu said.

“I must say that some of the decided cases are making our work difficult and we have been crying out loud for a long time.

“In particular, some pre-election litigations relating to the nomination of candidates for elections were not determined until after the elections.”

The INEC chairman’s comments come two weeks after the commission’s National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education, Mr Festus Okoye, expressed similar concerns, and amid debates about the implications of the conflicting judgements. The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammed, has also intervened.

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While Mr Okoye called on the judiciary to intervene in the matter to protect the electoral process, his boss Professor Yakubu took it further, advising politicians to avoid actions that hurt the electoral process.

He told the political leaders that even when elections are conducted, some litigations make it impossible for INEC to issue Certificates of Return to winners.

He also warned that “contracted and conflicting litigations” result in situations “where courts rather than votes determine winners of elections”

“This situation is compounded by cases on the leadership of political parties, therefore making the exercise of our regulatory responsibilities difficult,” he added.

“Consequently, in some instances, political parties were declared winners without candidates to immediately receive the Certificates of Return.”

CJN Intervenes

On Monday, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), who is also the Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC), held a marathon meeting with the six chief judges invited over the conflicting ex parte orders emanating from different judges across the country.

The spokesperson of the NJC, Soji Oye, disclosed in a statement that the meeting lasted about six hours with the Chief Judge of the High Court of the FCT also in attendance.

He said the CJN first had a one-on-one interaction with the Chief Justice of the FCT, Abuja, and then the Chief Judges of Rivers, Kebbi, Cross River, Jigawa, Anambra, and Imo.

“Three of the judges who granted conflicting ex parte orders have been invited to appear before the NJC to show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against them for granting such orders,” the statement read.

The CJN warned the chief judges to desist from the practice of designating newly appointed judicial officers as vacation judges and assigning complex cases to inexperienced judges.

He advised all heads of courts to be current on the developments in the polity and the judgments delivered by courts of various jurisdictions and to urgently issue practice direction to guide judges in their various courts to avoid giving conflicting decisions.

Conflicting Court Orders Leave Us In An Impossible Position – INEC

We Won’t Argue Sub Judice Petitions, INEC Tells PDP


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has raised an alarm over the conflicting court orders arising from the disputes among members of the same party.

INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said this in a statement on Thursday.

According to him, some politicians obtain orders from courts that have been completely removed from the geographical area where the course of action arose.

“The Commission is worried about the spate and rapidity of conflicting court orders mostly obtained ex-parte involving substantially the same parties, on the same or similar grounds and from courts of coordinate jurisdiction on issues and challenges around the administration of political parties and conduct of party primaries,” he said.

He added, “The Commission is committed to obeying all court orders, but the speed, frequency, and conflicting nature of the Orders leave it in an awkward and impossible position.”

Okoye, therefore, called on the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to impress on senior members of the Bar to put the country’s interest and the judiciary above every other interest.

He urged the NBA to tell its members not to allow personal considerations to outweigh their commitment to the profession, the rule of law and due process.

The INEC official stressed that it was in the best interest of the Bar and the Bench not to do anything that would bring them into disrepute.

“These calls have become necessary to draw attention to the uncertainties and threats posed by conflicting orders on not only preparations for elections and but also to the growth and development of our democracy,” he said.

Okoye explained that the call became necessary after INEC met on Thursday and deliberated on various issues, including the effect of conflicting court orders and pending bye-elections that arose as a result of resignations and death of members of the National and State Assemblies.

In view of its Policy on Conducting Elections in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the need to test run the new policy as well as Regulations and Guidelines developed therefrom, he revealed that the INEC made some resolutions.

This includes test-running the policy in Nasarawa State to fill the vacancy created by the death of Adamu Ibrahim, the lawmaker representing Nasarawa Central State Constituency.

The INEC national commissioner announced that the bye-election would take place on August 8 while the timetable and schedule of activities have been uploaded on the commission’s website.

FG’s Obedience To Court Orders Will Boost Investors’ Confidence – Rewane

The CEO of Financial Derivatives Company and a member of the Economic Advisory Council (ECA), Bismarck Rewane, says Federal Government’s obedience to court orders will boost the investors of confidence.


The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Financial Derivatives Company and a member of the Economic Advisory Council (ECA), Bismarck Rewane, says Federal Government’s obedience to court orders will boost investors’ confidence.

Rewane, stated this on Wednesday during an interview on Channels Television’s Business Morning, following the release of the RevolutionNow protest, Mr Omoyele Sowore and a former National Security Adviser, Mr. Sambo Dasuki by the Department of State Service (DSS).

“The more liberal, the more tolerant the government is, the more confidence investors will have. It is not the release of people, it’s the obeying of court orders.

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“If for example, I take the government to court because my tax liability is higher and the court says go and refund and the court refuses, those are the things investors are looking at.

“If there is a dispute, they need remedies. The government has to be a good example of obedience to the rule of law because they set the law. This move now shows that the government is law-abiding,” he stated.

Speaking about the rate of Nigerians seeking political asylum, the economist said the number has dropped from 60,000 in 2018 to 57,000 currently.

According to him, the decrease in the statistics is as a result of the decline in the misery index which translates to political asylum seekers.

Meanwhile, Rewane also stated that life expectancy in Nigeria is now 56 years compared to 2018 when it was 54 years.

I Have Compiled 32 Court Orders Being Disobeyed By Nigerian Govt – Falana

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, says he has compiled a list containing 32 court orders which were disobeyed by the Nigerian government.

The Human rights advocate said this in an interview on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily. He also tasked members of Nigerian Bar Association of Nigeria (NBA) to rise up to their duties.

He added it is not the responsibility of a president or even an attorney general to handpick which court order to obey.

“In my latest compilation, I’ve compiled about 32 court orders being disobeyed flagrantly by the government of Nigeria which is not in line with the rule of law.

“It doesn’t lie in the mouth of an attorney general or the president of a country to choose and pick which orders of court to obey.

“When you do that, you are reducing the status of the country to a banana republic. And that is why the bar has to rise up now and take its rightful place,” he said.

Falana warned that unless proactive steps are taken, nobody will respect the rights of Nigerians because “there is no penalty for impunity in our country.”

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During the interview, he added that Human Rights, the Democracy and Rule Of Law are not all taken seriously in Nigeria.

He blamed this on the NBA noting that it is stated clearly in the constitution of the NBA that human rights and the rule of law be defended.

“The official bar and the private bar have not taken the issue of human rights and democracy or even the rule of law seriously.

“We have a new human rights regime in our country on paper that can be compared with that of any civilised or advanced bourgeoise democracy

“For instance, under the current political dispensation, no Nigerian shall be detained in any detention center in Nigeria without an inspection, monthly inspection of the facility by a chief magistrate or a judge of the federal high court. In other words, you can no longer have indiscriminate arrest and detention,” he said.

The constitution provides that anybody who is arrested by the police shall be taken to court within 24 or 48 hours.

Falana said Nigerian lawyers should be burdened that illegal arrests occur on a daily basis in Nigeria.

The law, he said, provides that before you search or arrest a Nigerian, you must obtain a court order from a Federal High court.

“If you want to search his house, you obtain an order like a search warrant. If you want to seize his phone, you get an order, because your right to liberty, your right to the privacy of your home and correspondent are constitutionally entrenched.

“So, if you are going to violate any of those rights, you must obtain a court order. But what happens in Nigeria? You go and invade somebody’s house in the dead of the night, when you have kept him for few days, you suddenly realize ‘oh I need a court order’ then you rush to court. No, that’s not our law.”

Falana decried the situation when security officers raid communities and arrest people on the road for wandering, adding that the law on wandering has been “abolished as far back as 1989.”

He lamented that the poor and indigent people in Nigeria are on the receiving end and the only way Nigerian lawyers can stem this tide is to be armed with the law.

Court Orders Immediate De-freezing of Governor Fayose’s Accounts

Court Orders Immediate De-freezing of Governor Fayose's AccountsA Federal High court sitting in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to lift the restriction placed on some accounts belonging to Governor Ayodele Fayose in Zenith Bank.

The court also set aside an earlier order of a Federal High court, Lagos empowering the EFCC to freeze two accounts domiciled in the new generation bank.

The court has consequently ordered the EFCC to immediately defreeze the two accounts belonging to the governor without further delay, on the account that the anti-graft agency did not follow due process in confiscating them.

Delivering his judgement, the presiding Judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, said the rights of the governor had been unconstitutionally infringed upon, considering the circumstance of his office.

Justice Taiwo declared that apart from the immunity which Mr Fayose currently enjoyed as a sitting governor under section 308 of the constitution, it was wrong for the EFCC to have gone ahead to seize his two accounts in apparent perpetuity without first investigating him or making him a party.

He averred that rather than the EFCC freezing the governor’s accounts directly through the third party who did not enjoy any mandate from him, the governor himself ought to have been first investigated and brought into the picture.

The judge described Fayose as “a genuinely deprived person who rushed to the court to seek constitutional protection”.

The judge thereby gave a mandatory order the de-freezing, unblocking and making operational the two accounts by the respondents.

He said it was also the duty of any presiding judge to protect the said constitution and its interpretations whenever the need arises.

“The Plaintiff is entitled to be heard before his property or money can be seized, doing otherwise will amount to denying him fair hearing and constitutional rights”, he said.

The judge however refused to grant other relief sought by the governor, including a perpetual injunction restraining EFCC or its agents from further tampering with his property, and another one asking for payment of N5billion as exemplary damages.

“This court will not shield any person from due investigation and since Police cannot be stopped from investigating a crime, same goes for the First Respondent so as not to whittle down its functions”, the judge said.

EFCC lead counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo was absent at the court but Fayose’s lead counsel, Ozekhome, in his reaction described the judgment as the best to be so made the EFCC in history, saying it would checkmate the agency against years of brazen arbitrariness and excesses.

The EFCC had on June 21, 2016 confiscated the two accounts having allegedly contained a sum of N2.99billion out of the N2.3 billion arms money allegedly drawn by the governor from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki to prosecute his governorship election in 2014.

Fayose through his lawyer, Mr Mike Ozekhome approached the court and sought for the enforcement of his fundamental rights, which involved the de-freezing of the two accounts.

Court Orders EFCC To Release Bala Mohammed On Bail

Court Orders EFCC To Release Bala Mohammed On BailJustice Baba Yusuf of the Federal Capital Territory High Court 4, has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to release the former FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed on bail.

The erstwhile Minister had been in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission since October 24, 2016 when he honoured the invitation of commission.

The Court granted him bail with two sureties who must have landed property within the Abuja Municipality with Certificate of Occupancy.

In granting the application for bail filed by the lead counsel to Mr Mohammed, Chris Uche, the High Court took a swipe at the EFCC for manifesting contradictions and for lying under oath with the depositions in the counter affidavit it filed challenging the bail application.

The court adjourned the matter till December 14, 2016 for the hearing of the substantive suit for the enforcement of the fundamentalist rights of the former minister.