Chairmen of some political parties have hailed the judgment of an FCT High Court declaring the assets declaration form of the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, as validly filed, lawful and in compliance with the law.
In an Originating Summons marked FCT/HC/GAR/CV/47/2022 by Somadina Uzoabaka against the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Prof. Yakubu, the Claimant 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 plaintiff also sought an order of Court stopping the INEC chairman from holding or assuming any public office for a period of 10 years.
Prof. Yakubu, who in his response to the allegation, furnished the Court with several exhibits to show the sources of money for the purchase of the properties which the plaintiff/claimant alleged were illegally acquired and insisted that his assets declarations were validly carried out.
In the judgment, Justice M. A. Hassan found that the declaration of assets by Prof. Yakubu was lawful, valid and in compliance with the extant law and that he cannot be investigated by any of the security agencies listed by the Claimant that should all investigate him.
Consequently, the Judge declined to grant any of the 14 prayers of the claimant, declaring that the INEC Chairman cannot be removed over fabricated allegations of false assets declaration.
Meanwhile, reacting to the court ruling on Wednesday, Spokesperson of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, hailed the judgment, describing it as a major New Year gift to Nigerians by the judiciary and victory for credible, free and fair elections.
In a phone interview, the CUPP spokesperson said the plans to scuttle the 2023 general election by those who know they cannot win free and fair elections has been, once again, squashed by the judiciary.
Ugochinyere also hailed the Court for going ahead to bar security agencies from investigating Prof. Mahmoud 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 our 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, but 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.”
For his part, the national chairman of the Action Alliance (AA), Barr. Kenneth Udeze, applauded the Judge for being bold.
Udeze wondered why any person would wait until few days to a general election to seek the removal of the INEC boss from office.
“It would have thrown the entire country into political crisis as there would be allegations and counter-allegations in an already highly charged polity. Security agencies should live up to their mandate and stop being apolitical,” Udeze stated.