The attention of the Rivers State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has been drawn to attacks by failed governorship candidate of the APC, Mr. Dakuku Peterside, Magnus Abe; All Progressives Congress Candidate for Rivers South East Senatorial District, Mr. Barry Mpigi; All Progressives Congress Candidate for Tai/Eleme/Oyigbo Federal Constituency and other members of the All Progressives Congress, APC on His lordship, Honourable A. M. Liman, judge of the Port Harcourt Division of the Federal High Court and the judiciary.
The Judge had in June 2016, restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC in an interlocutory injunction from announcing any results or figures however generated or compiled purported to be the result of the re-run election for any or all of Khana, Bonny, Gokana, Andoni, Eleme, and Tai Local Government Areas of Rivers State or any part of the re-run election scheduled for March 19, 2016, which election was subsequently postponed by INEC.
The Rivers State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Bro Felix Obuah hereby wishes to make the following clarifications following attacks on the judge, the judiciary and denial that such order of court exists.
1. It is the position of the law as stated clearly by the Supreme Court that once a suit has been filed and party involved served, the Party can no longer do anything, whether or not the court has made any pronouncement or order on the subject matter in litigation
We want to put the records straight that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC was properly served and represented in court. INEC also filed papers and joined issues with the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
INEC filed a counter-affidavit to the motion. INEC in the counter-affidavit denied constituting any committee to come up with figure for declaring the re-run elections results conducted in Rivers State on 19th March, 2016.
INEC further denied that it has ever written up or contrived results for re-run election conducted in Rivers State.
2. When the Party or defendant in a suit has been served and represented, party has submitted himself to jurisdiction and anything he does afterwards, adversely to the subject matter amount to self help and a mark of disrespect or contempt of court.
It is also a mark of irresponsibility on the part of such defendant and it undermines the integrity of the court.
3. It is even worse when an order has been made against such defendant and the defendant who is being represented, cannot claim non service with the order of court ruling, that is because, the legal representative was in court and participated in the proceeding.
4. If the legal practitioner had joined issues with the claimant or plaintiff as the case may be, he has already indicted at law, that he will be bound by whatever is the outcome of the litigation of the subject matter.
5. It is only when an interim order is granted against the defendant in an exparte application that the defendant can argue that he has not been served with the order and can go ahead to do whatever he wants.
6. In this case, the ruling was an interlocutory injunction and not an interim order and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC which was represented by counsel has also joined issues and was present during proceedings of the court.
Therefore, they need not be served with the interlocutory order, because they were in court.
7. The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, cannot base their disobedience on the court ruling for not being served because it goes to no issue in law.
8. The pronouncement on Thursday August 18, 2016 by Amina Zakari, INEC National Electoral Commissioner in charge of Operations on the purported Tai LGA re-run election on March 19, 2016, whether oral or written, is a clear case of contempt of Court, and a violation of an interlocutory injunction made in June 2016, because it undermines the integrity of the court which gave an order in June 2016 restricting INEC from declaring the result of Tai LGA.
9. Amina Zakari’s pronouncement on Tai LGA re-run election result is of no legal moment, because it cannot circumvent or supercede or subsume the order of the court of law, made in June 2016 more so, when the order is an interlocutory and not an interim order.
10. That a press statement on the Court order was issued by the PDP on Tuesday, August 23, 2016 however does not in any way make or amount to the court order as fake nor should be taken to be the date of the issuance of the court order.
Accordingly, the PDP would take advantage of what the law says and file for contempt of court.
The PDP would also press criminal charges against APC Candidates, who lay claim to these illegal and criminal results, as there were no elections in Tai Local Government Area of Rivers State, following repeated cases of violence, hijack of election materials, killings orchestrated by members of the APC in Tai, which impeded the election in the early hours of March 19, 2016 and prompted the suspension of election in Tai LGA by INEC.
The PDP would also demand to know in whose possessions were these fake and criminal results five months after the elections in Tai LGA were cancelled.