…Demands Release of Judgement
By Jude Atupulazi
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has alleged of a plot by Justice O.A. Nwabunike of the Anambra state High Court to derail the course of justice by making away with the case file on the Senator Ugochukwu UBA Vs PDP & Ors, in a desperate bid to frustrate an appeal against his judgment on the PDP Anambra State governorship primary election.
The PDP charged Nwabunike to immediately release the case file, warning that the public already knew about how the case had been compromised.
In a press statement signed by Kola Ologbondiyan, National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, the party stressed that the only reason Justice Nwabunike disappeared with the case file and refused to make copies of his judgment available to the PDP and its candidate, Valentine Ozigbo, was because he (Justice Nwabunike) was aware that ‘his perverted judgement cannot stand in any appeal.’
The PDP recalled that on July 5, 2021, an aspirant, Senator Ugochukwu Uba, who did not participate in the PDP primary, instituted a suit against the PDP, its candidate, Valentine Ozigbo, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), wherein he challenged Ozigbo’s candidature for the November 6, 2021 governorship election.
‘Barely 24 hours after Senator Uba instituted the suit, Justice Nwabunike curiously granted an ex parte injunction restraining INEC from carrying out their constitutional duty and also abridged the time within which the Defendants are legally obliged to file their defence from 42 days to only 3 days in violation of Order 16 Rule 1(2) of the Anambra State High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2019.
Despite the obvious hardship created by this strange ex parte order, the judge, on the day of hearing, being the 16th of July 2021, denied the defendants time to respond to the processes served on them and proceeded with the hearing of the plaintiff’s case.
Regardless of the 180 days provided by the constitution for the hearing and determination of pre-election matters, the Honorable Court hastily concluded proceedings and delivered judgment within 14 days.
The most unfortunate part of this episode is that the judge, after hastily delivering the Judgment, made away with the case file and refused to release copies of his judgment to the defendants, despite their application in the open court, as well as the officially written application to the judge.
‘However, to the chagrin of the defendants, the court has gone ahead to issue copies of the Judgment to the plaintiff, Senator Uba.
‘Moreover, the trial judge has been making every effort to frustrate the notices of appeal filed by the PDP and her candidate, Valentine Ozigbo.
‘The PDP notes that the reason Justice Nwabunike is employing these legal shenanigans is to frustrate the defendants’ appeal against his judgment, which was aimed to assist an individual who did not participate in our primary to distract our party ahead of this crucial election,’ the release stated.
It called on the Chief Judge of Anambra State, Honorable Justice O.M. Anyachebelu, and the National Judicial Council (NJC) to quickly call Justice Nwabunike to order, as, according to them, there must be an end to judicial rascality.
The PDP insisted that Justice Nwabunike must be made to release the case file, as well as the copies of the judgment because his continued refusal was capable of pitching the Judiciary against the people of Anambra, whose mandate, the party said, as being expressed in their candidate, Valentine Ozigbo, was being undermined by Justice Nwabunike.