Tony Okafor, Awka
A Federal High Court sitting in Awka, Anambra State has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to investigate the Senator-elect for Anambra South, Ifeanyi Ubah, and the Returning Officer, Prof M.N. Umenweke, over criminal allegations levelled against them.
The order followed an application for an order of mandamus sought from the court by the senatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Chris Uba.
Handing down the order, the presiding judge, Justice I.B. Gafai, asked INEC to within 14 days, conduct investigation into the matter for the purpose of prosecuting the respondents.
The order read in part, “Upon the honourable court having delivered a considered judgement today, it hereby ordered as follows: the first respondent (INEC) shall, within 14 days from today, conduct or cause investigation into the criminal allegations of the applicant(Chris Uba).
“It shall prosecute, if the investigation result so warrants, the third respondent (Ifeanyi Uba) and any other person(s) implicated in its investigation.
“Where it considers it inexpedient to prosecute through its legal officers, it shall consider, at its liberty, the appointment of the applicant’s solicitors in this suit for the purpose of such prosecution.”
The PDP candidate had approached the court, asking for an order of mandamus compelling INEC to prosecute Ubah of the Young Progressives Party and others allegedly involved in the disorderly conduct that took place on February 23, 2019, at the Nnewi North Local Government Area that led to the announcement of the result of the inconclusive election held on the same day.
Uba also asked for “a further order of mandamus compelling the first respondent to prosecute the second (Prof M.N. Umenweke) for announcing or publishing a false result to the effect that the third respondent had won the election held on the said February 23, 2019, even when they both knew that the said election was inconclusive and from which no genuine result had been generated.”