JEGA Faces Contempt Charges In Delta

By Jessica Tamaraduoye, Asaba 

The chairman of the  Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Attahiru Jega, risks being committed to prison for disobeying a Federal High Court order in Delta State, which mandated the electoral body to restore Ughelli South 1 and Isoko North 1 as constituencies in Edo State in a riling delivered on October 31, 2014.

Justice Shitu Abubakar on October 31, 2014, ordered INEC to restore the two constituencies following their suppression in 1999.

Delivering judgement, the court held that, “The defendant does not have any power and/or discretion whatsoever to suppress the existing Ughelli South constituency 1 with constituency code No. SC/33/DT and Isoko North constituency 1 with constituency code no SC/17/DT in Delta State House of Assembly lawfully created and approved by the National Assembly.”

However, the commission filed for a stay of execution against the judgment, which the court has now dismissed, leaving Jega and INEC with little choice.

Dismissing the application on Tuesday, 3 February, the presiding judge, Justice Shitu Abubakar, said the commission had no reason to delay the implementation of the court’s judgment.






     

     

    Counsel to the Plaintiffs, Efe Akpofure, SAN, described the dismissal of INEC’s application for stay of execution as a sound judgment.

    Akpofure said the court ruling was of utmost importance, as it would enable the constituencies to participate in the 28 February elections, adding, “there is nobody that is bigger than the court; you must obey the court order.”

    “The Court has made an order and that judgment is subsisting. I don’t want to believe that the delay in the implementation of the court judgment is political; we expect INEC to do the needful, having been put on notice,” Akpofure said.

    Counsel to INEC, Efa Oka, agreed that the electoral body was under obligation to obey the judgment following the dismissal of its application for stay of execution.

     

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