On Wednesday, 11th January, 2017: the case of Dr. Uche Ogah VS. Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu was called up for hearing at the Supreme Court. The various Counsel announced their appearances, but before the court’s business of the day in the matter could be mentioned, one of the members of the panel, Lady Justice Amina Augie, interjected to say that she would not want to participate in hearing an appeal involving the 2015 Abia State governorship election. The reason she gave is that after the Abia governorship election petition appeal at the Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri, one of the parties in that appeal who is a party to the present appeal had written a petition against her falsely, maliciously and baselessly accusing her of influencing the constitution of the panel that heard the appeal and the judgement which that party lost. She went on to say that the petition was so baseless, unfounded, in bad faith and nothing could be farther from the truth. Therefore,  she has to decline sitting on the panel because she is concerned that if judgment peradventure goes against that party, she may face another round of unwarranted attacks. Her words: ‘somebody may stand at the Supreme Court entrance staircase and address the press, saying all sorts of things.’

Efforts by parties’ various lead counsel to give assurance of their confidence in the panel did not move her to change her mind. The matter was thus adjourned to enable the acting CJN constitute another panel which would not include her.

Now, this demonstrates how desperate politicians have maligned, lowered and undermined the integrity of the Nigerian judiciary. When a desperate politician loses a case before any court, he accuses the judge or panel of bias, corruption, compromise and all forms of unprintable allegations which he knows to be false and unfounded.

Apparently, what one can make of this is that the party in question, Dr.Okezie Ikpeazu, goes about using his undeserved unmerited ill-gotten and stolen mandate as Abia State Governor to harass intimidate and denigrate any judge or panel who boldly refuses his desperate bribery overtures and gives judgement against him. It will be recalled that he did same to Hon. Justice Okon Abang who gave judgement against him in the case that eventually led to the instant appeal. Now, it’s been judicially confirmed in open court, Supreme Court for that matter, that he did even worse to the Court of Appeal panel that gave judgement against him in favour of Alex Otti.

Surprisingly, his lying-ability and penchant for giving false information are endless, boundless and out of control. The basis of the present case against him is giving false information. And today, his media team is claiming on social and mainline media that Lady Justice Amina Augie rescused herself from the case because she is from Uturu (Dr. Ogah’s place, in Abia State). This blatant lie is being peddled on his behalf and at his behest by no less a person than someone who says he is a professor of law, and Dr. Ikpeazu’s commissioner for education, leading other liars. He did not even do some basic research or fact check, being a professor of law, to find out that Justice Augie is married to late Senator Adamu Augie, a fine senator of the 1999 NASS set. For the records, Hon. Justice Amina is from Asaba not Uturu.

The Nigerian judiciary should take judicial notice of characters like Dr.Okezie Ikpeazu and be bold to discourage such reprehensible misconduct of those Nigerian politicians who are bad and sore losers. It’s such elements that have thrown our hitherto exalted judiciary into the deep crisis it unfortunately finds itself presently. It is hoped that the Ogah VS. Ikpeazu appeal presently at the Supreme Court will turn out a golden opportunity for the Supreme Court under the acting CJN, Walter Nkanu Onnoghen, to begin to restore and re-assert the integrity of the judiciary by doing justice without FEAR OR FAVOUR. This is the cardinal principle of justice dispensation.

It is therefore suggested that the CJN should take a clue from this unpleasant development to constitute a panel of justices who are above board, fearless, incorruptible, and who are ready to set the Nigerian Judiciary on a new and sound footing. Opportunity knocks for our courts in this matter. Let the CJN himself preside in the matter, leading a full seven-man panel of the Supreme Court. That way, whoever loses will not go about harassing or accusing judges baselessly. And this should be done very quickly for Abians to have a Governor.


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