This follows the recent hearing notices sent out to parties to the suit including INEC, PDP and Sullivan Chime (respondents) by, Ibrahim Gold, the head of litigation department of the apex court.
The hearing notice read: “IN THE SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA HOLDEN AT ABUJA. SC 140/2014: Chief Alexander Chukwuemeka Obiechina & V. INEC & 2 Ors. Take Notice that the above MOTION will be listed for hearing on Wednesday the 7th day of December, 2016.”
With suit numbers, FHC/ABJ/CS/412/2011, CA/A/358/C/2012 and SC140/2014, the case, which borders on the 2011 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Enugu State governorship primary, Alex Obiechina vs. INEC and two others; have suffered inexplicable delays at Federal High and the appellate courts.
In a motion on notice brought pursuant to order 2 Rule 12 of the Supreme Court Rules, 1999 and section 6 (6) of the 1999 Constitution, and filed on his behalf by Abdullahi M. Aliyu, SAN, Obiechina is seeking an order granting the Appellant/Applicant to produce, tender and rely on copies of documents which were not tendered at the trial court and the Court of Appeal.
The plaintiff contends in his grounds of appeal that he contested and won the 2nd respondent’s primary election of January 9, 2011 for the selection of the governorship candidate in Enugu having polled 424 to defeat six other aspirants, including the third respondent, Chime.
Part of the grounds of the appeal read: “The 2nd respondent submitted the name of the 3rd Respondent to the 1st Respondent as her candidate in the said election, instead of the Applicant’s name in contravention of 2nd Respondent’s Primary Election guidelines and the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010.
“The Appellant filed this suit at the trial court challenging the said action of the Respondents, but the 2nd Respondent, who is in custody of the above stated documents relevant to the proof of the Appellant’s case, refused to release them to the Appellant despite repeated demands as the 2nd respondent is denying that no such primary election was held by her on the 9th of January 2011.”
Counsel to Obiechina further stated that “the documents the Appellant is seeking to produce, tender and rely upon now are relevant to the determination of the real issue involved in this case as it establishes the holding of the said primary election and discredits the Respondents’ assertion that no primary election was conducted by her on 9th January 2011.”
While noting that it is the interest of justice to receive the documents in evidence, the Plaintiff/Applicant declared: “the evidence sought to be tendered is credible and it is capable of being believed without the necessity of adducing further evidence.”
However, after the PDP became aware of the evidence Obiechina seeks to tender, it stopped attending court. The instant case may be the first real test of the acting CJN’s preparedness to restore public confidence in the court as the temple of justice.
It would be recalled that shortly after his appointment as acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, had pledged to assist the Federal Government in the ongoing fight against judicial corruption, stressing that he would stamp out all forms of malpractices that circumvent the dispensation of justice.