1. The Chukwuma Charles Soludo Campaign has received with gladness the decision of the Federal High Court in Abuja a few hours ago on the suit brought by some nondescript individuals, Valentine Adindu and Chukwuebuka Egwudike, seeking the disqualification of Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) as Anambra State governor-elect following the November 6 and 9 gubernatorial election in the State. Mr Justice Taiwo Oladipupo Taiwo described the suit based on an insignificant error, which may well be considered a typographic mistake, as frivolous, irritating and lacking in merit. He consequently awarded a punitive two million naira (N2m) cost against the litigants, which will be paid to Professor Soludo and his deputy, Dr Onyeka Ibezim.
2. All Nigerians are delighted at the decision, as reflected in the extensive and positive media coverage. The massive rejoicing across the land derives not so much from the judgment per se because every person knew ab initio that the suit was infra dig but from the punitive cost against Egwudike and Adindu. The so-called litigants knew very well that they had no case against Soludo, since disqualification of a governor-elect is no punishment for an insignificant form filing mistake. All they wanted was to be settled. For a lot of Nigerians, politicians and non-politicians alike, every election is an excellent season to make money.
3. More Nigerians would have been happier if Obinna Ijeri and Kevin Okoko, the lawyers to Adindu and Egwudike, had been chastised by Mr Justice Taiwo also made to pay a considerable amount of money for helping their clients to proceed on an obvious frivolous and immoral journey, and by so doing wasting precious judicial time and resources.
4. In her bold and memorable declaration of August 3, 2021, Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme, PhD, of the Court of Appeal, Awka, demanded punishment for not only judges who entertain cases which they know obviously are not within their competence but also lawyers who bring such cases before them. Justice Nwosu-Iheme was speaking within the context of the notorious judgment given on June 30, 2021, by Mr Justice Musa Ubale of the Jigawa State High Court sitting at Birni Kudu and a similar judgment by Justice Victoria Isiguzo of the Imo State High Court sitting in Owerri, on August 19, 2021, over the APGA national leadership. Such members of the Bench and the Bar bring the country’s judicial process and the justice system to odium.
5. We are delighted that shortly after the Justice Nwosu-Iheme declaration, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Section on Public Interest and Development Law(SPIDEL) rebuked the judges and lawyers. In a well-publicized statement, the NBA-SPIDEL chairman, Dr Monday Ubani who is also a former NBA 2nd National vice chairman, demanded adequate punishment for such legal professionals, especially the senior lawyers among them, for misconduct. The NBA national leadership was to declare support for Justice Nwosu-Iheme and Dr Ubani but also set up a committee, which included Dr Ubani, to look into the embarrassing conduct of these judges and legal practitioners.
6. Therefore, much as welcome Justice Taiwo’s decision on the frivolous and irritating suit against Professor Soludo by busybodies and interlopers who were not candidates in the November 6 and 9 election in Anambra State and perhaps did not register to vote in the election, we would have been more satisfied if the judge had punished the lawyers who brought the case before his court to serve as a lesson and deterrent to legal practitioners whose conduct tends to compromise the integrity of Nigerian courts in the eyes of reasonable members of society.
7. Finally, the Soludo Campaign wishes to use this opportunity to commend the Nigerian judiciary for once again restoring public confidence in it as truly a temple of justice, the bastion of democracy and the hope of all Nigerians, whether privileged or not. God bless Nigeria.
C. Don Adinuba
Director, Media and Communication