By PRECIOUS IBINABO DAVIDS, Port Harcourt
Members of the APC in Rivers State purporting to be elected Chairmen of Local Government Councils in Rivers State have suffered a monumental judicial fatality at the National Industrial Court, Bayelsa Division.
The purported Local Government Council Chairmen without any legal mandate claimed to have been elected in an election that mocked the very idea of democracy. The purported election was subsequently annulled by Justice Lambo Akanbi of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, who ordered the cancellation of the local government elections conducted few days to the expiration of the tenure of former Governor Rotimi Ameachi’s tenure as governor of the state.
Justice Lambo Akanbi, in his ruling, berated the former administration of Rotimi Amaechi for conducting the local council elections despite his order that all parties should maintain status quo and leave the rest.
Justice Akanbi also accused the immediate past government of “flagrant disobedience of court processes.
“The respondent (APC) was aware of the order that they should leave the rest. The respondent committed contempt of court for going ahead to hold the elections while the suit is pending.
“While a matter is in court nothing should be done to prejudice the matter.
“The parties cannot jump the gun to do anything in their own way. A party in a suit cannot resort to self help. Whenever a ruling has not been given, parties are bound to maintain status quo.
“The attitude of the 2nd and 3rd respondents in this matter are unacceptable, provocative, lawless and condemnable. We must learn to uphold the rule of law. It helps to strengthen our democracy.
“I hereby set aside the Local government elections held on the 23rd of May, 2015”, Justice Akanbi ruled.
Today, the National Industrial Court dismissed an appeal on the matter for abuse of Court process and forum shopping and by effect crashed the hopes of the APC from benefiting from mischief.
The judiciary, by this judgment, may have begun its rejuvenation after the last public condemnation by the Chief Justice of Nigeria of conflicting judgments at the Court of Appeal leading to loss of confidence in the judiciary by the public.