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Battling for the soul of Anambra

Uba, through his counsel, Taiwo Obe, gave a withdrawal notice to the Supreme Court, without citing any reasons for withdrawing his suit. Obe said: “Take…

Uba, through his counsel, Taiwo Obe, gave a withdrawal notice to the Supreme Court, without citing any reasons for withdrawing his suit. Obe said: “Take notice that the appellants (PDP and Uba) herein do not intend to further prosecute this appeal and accordingly withdraw same.” Speculations are Uba withdrew his suit because it was becoming evident that he could not get his way with the revered justices of the Supreme Court and that if he had known he would not have ventured into filing the suit in the first place. Chris Nwokobia, lawyer-activist, said that Uba withdrew his case at the apex court because he believes that the PDP will rig the 2010 gubernatorial election in Anambra State in his favour.

“It is just about a show of confidence that come 2010 the same theatrics and drama we witnessed in the Ekiti State re-run election, will be replicated in Anambra State. It is disheartening that the global call for due process and decorum is being rubbished by a regime that made the rule of law its mantra,” Nwokobia stated.

Barely two months after withdrawing his earlier case, Uba made a u turn and filed a fresh suit seeking the court to overrule its earlier judgments. Part of Uba’s prayers before the court through his new counsel, Joseph Daudu (SAN) is a judicial pronouncement setting aside the Supreme Court’s earlier decision that brought his administration to an abrupt end. But in the new suit, Uba is praying the apex court for an order o set aside the ruling of the court delivered on January 29, 2008; set aside or annul its judgment in the appeal delivered on June 14, 2007. In the current suit, Uba and PDP are challenging the refusal of the Enugu division of the Court of Appeal to set aside an alleged faulty notice of appeal which formed the foundation of the Supreme Court’s judgment that nullified the April 14, 2007 governorship election in Anambra State. He said the legislation and rules of the court in relation to the initiation of appeals from the High Court to the Court of Appeal make it mandatory for such appeal to be lodged at the registry of the High Court.

 Uba’s latest lawsuit is his fourth attempt to persuade the Supreme Court to set aside a verdict that was highly praised throughout Nigeria and beyond. Uba’s current appeal is predicated mainly on an alleged defect in the appeal filed by Gov. Peter Obi that led to his (Uba) removal. But on what grounds could the Supreme Court set side its judgment and could an appeal become abuse of court process?

In a manner that suggests an answer, Professor Itse Sagay, (SAN) stated that the Supreme Court can only set aside its judgment if it was discovered that the said judgment was obtained by fraud.

According to him, “it is a very rare possibility for the Supreme Court to set aside its own judgment. It can only happen if the Supreme Court discovered that the judgment was obtained by fraud, and then the court can reconsider its judgment, and set it aside. But it is very rare. There has been very few occasions when that has happened. In this case, however, I can predict that the exercise is hopeless; there is not a chance in the world that he would succeed.”

While aligning with Sagay, another erudite lawyer, Professor Taiwo Oshipitan (SAN) stressed that if the Supreme Court had ruled on the application being sought and if the facts are the same, then bringing such appeal before the Apex Court or any other court for that matter would be tantamount to an abuse of court process.

In view of the unfolding political melodrama, pundits are of the view that as at now, the war that is raging is for the soul of Anambra state in preparation for the forth-coming gubernatorial election in 2010. The PDP created and nurtured the Chris Ngige rigging machinery that brought him in as the governor between 2003 and 2006, when he lasted as an usurper of the governorship seat of the state. A godfather was created in the person of Chris Uba, Gov. Ngige’s namesake, by the PDP. There were some other unnamed persons and together, they raped the state and installed their man. The godfather and son later fell apart. Obasanjo watched. Ngige lose his seat as a governor. Obi came in. The PDP-dominated House of Assembly impeached him to pave the way for a PDP governor. Etiaba, Obi’s deputy took over. But the Supreme Court nullified the impeachment and Obi came back. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) removed him and brought in Andy Uba when there was no vacancy in the Awka Government House. Again, the Supreme Court said no. Andy left. Obi returned and now, Andy is staging a comeback.

Sunday Trust investigations revealed that several factors are bound to impede Uba’s return to the Government House in Awka. In the first instance, speculation is rife that Chris Uba, the self styled godfather of Anambra politics is nursing an ambition to occupy the government house which might ultimately pitch the two Uba brothers on a war path. Besides, it is unlikely that the PDP under Ogbulafor will garner support for Andy in the next elections especially as the emergence of Chief Vincent Ogbulafor as national chairman made matters worse for Andy, who allegedly rooted for Dr. Sam Egwu.