Court Dismisses Suit Seeking Removal of INEC Chairman over Assets Declaration

Several Chairmen of political parties in the country have hailed the judgment of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) which declared that the Assets Declaration Form of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmoud Yakubu was validly filled, lawful and in compliance with the law.

Justice M. A. Hassan of the FCT High Court in a judgment delivered yesterday, dismissed a suit challenging the legitimacy of the assets declared by Yakubu, for being incompetent and lacking in merit.

The judge subsequently consequently barred security agencies from investigating the INEC boss over his valid assets declaration.

According to the judgment, contrary to the claim of the claimant, Somadina Uzoabaka, the Assets Declaration Form of Yakubu was lawful, valid and in compliance with the law.

Uzoabaka had in the suit sought for the removal of Yakubu as INEC Chairman over alleged falsehood in his Assets Declaration Form. Defendants in the Originating Summons marked FCT/HC/GAR/CV/47/202 are the Attorney General of the Federation and Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.

The claimant had sought among other things an order of mandatory injunction directing and compelling the INEC Chairman to recuse, excuse and exclude himself and or step down as the Chairman of INEC pending the investigation and consideration of the various allegations against him by the various law enforcement agencies.

The claimant also sought an order of Court barring the INEC Chairman from holding or assuming any public office for a period of 10 years.

However, in his counter affidavit, Yakubu had through his counsel, Emeka Obegolu, furnished the Court with several exhibits to show the sources of money for the purchase of the properties which the Claimant alleged were illegally acquired and insisted that his assets declarations were validly done.

However, the court in its judgment found that the declaration of assets by Prof. Yakubu was lawful, valid and in compliance with the law and that he cannot be investigated by any of the security agencies listed by the Claimant.

The judge who declined to grant any of the 14 reliefs sought by the claimant declared that the INEC Chairman cannot be removed over fabricated allegations of false assets declaration and subsequently the suit.

Reacting, the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), yesterday hailed the judgment, describing it as a major New Year gift to Nigerians by the judiciary and victory for credible, free and fair election.

In a phone interview, the CUPP spokesperson, Mr. Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, in his usual fiery nature said the plans to scuttle the 2023 general election by those who know they cannot win free and fair elections has been squashed by the judiciary.

Ugochinyere also hailed the Court for going ahead to bar security agencies from investigating him over his valid assets declaration.

He said, “I’m happy that the judiciary over the months has proven that they are the last hope of the common man. Since the intelligence discovery of plans to compel INEC chairman to stop the use of Bimodal Voter Accreditation system in the 2023 elections, these evil politicians have not rested, they are looking for non-existing faults.

“First, it was the CBN Governor because of the cash limit policy and now the INEC Chairman. The security agencies are a disappointment, at a time the masses need their protection and help the most, they are busy collecting bribes and serving the interest of the evil politicians.”

In another reaction to the judgment, the President of the Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo Youth Movement Ochiagha Uche Nnadi said the judiciary has yet again saved the Nigerian democracy from collapse as politicians do not mind the collapse of democracy in their pursuit of power.

He asked, “Can Nigerians imagine what would have happened if in about 50 days to a general election there is a sudden change in the leadership of the electoral commission?

“Many people who pose as leaders do not mean well for the country.”

The National Chairman of the Action Alliance, Mr. Kenneth Udeze in a response on his reaction of the judgment applauded the judge for being bold.