ABUJA – There was a mild drama on Wednesday at the Gudu residence of the member representing, Ehime Mbano/Ihitte Uboma/Obowo Federal Constituency of Imo State, Rep. Emeka Nwajiuba, as he refused to step out of his home in an attempt to evade service of court processes.
Trouble started when a bailiff from the Court of Appeal, Mr. Usman Mohammed arrived Nwajiuba’s residence to serve him with some court processes.
The court bailiff arrived the Imo lawmaker’s house early in the morning and he was informed that member was still at home.
However, things changed when Mohammed’s mission was made known and all efforts to get the lawmaker to come out to receive the court processes was rebuffed, but the resilient bailiff insisted that he would not leave until he effects service. This led to the bailiff waiting for over 7 hours until a group of unruly young men emerged to threaten and harass him.
One of the less aggressive youths, who appeared at the member’s house told the bailiff to proceed to Nwajiuba’s office address at TETFUND Abuja headquarters to effect the service there.
The lawmaker who defected from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to Accord Party to run for the House of Representatives was appointed chairman of TETFUND by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2017.
By law a member of the National Assembly cannot also serve as chairman of the board of government agency.
Mohammed on Thursday deposed an affidavit detailing his harassment at Nwajiuba’s home.
Recall that the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Chike Okafor had approached the Abuja division of the Court of Appeal to nullify the judgment of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) that produced Nwajiuba, as the member representing Ehime Mbank /Ihitte Uboma /Obowo Federal constituency of Imo State.
The action is contained in their separate notices of appeals filed before the appellate court against rulings of the FCT High Court which gave rise to the issuance of Certificate of Return to Nwajiuba by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Justice Bello Kawu of the Bwari division of the FCT High Court had in its order made on February 12, 2019, barred INEC, from accepting or listing the candidate of the APC in the rescheduled National Assembly election.
Unhappy with the decision by the FCT High Court, the APC and its candidate, Okafor in their separate notices of appeals asked the appellate court to set aside the decision of the lower court and to declare the entire proceedings a nullity.
The suit which gave rise to the eventual emergence of Nwajuba was instituted by a House of Representatives aspirant, Ms. Uzoma Maryann, who had filed a suit before the High Court against the APC, Emeka Nwajuba and the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Principally, she sought for the nullification of the nomination of Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, as APC’s candidate for the Okigwe South Federal Constituency for the 2019 elections, saying, Nwajiuba’s emergence violated the party’s guidelines.
Justice Kawu in his ruling, cited various authorities and concluded that Nwajiuba’s nomination was “inappropriate, unlawful, null and void for failure to comply with the first defendants guideline for nomination of candidate.”
He also barred INEC “from further recognising, accepting or listing the second defendant’s name as the candidate of the first defendant in the 2019 ballot paper for Okigwe South House of Representatives election because the first defendant (APC) did not conduct primary for the office.
Ironically, Chika Okafor, who was the nominated candidate of the APC for the Federal seat was not made a party in the suit and denied the opportunity of being heard.
While the suit was pending before the court, Emeka Nwajiuba joined the Accord Party where he contested the elections against Chika Okafor of the APC, who won the election and was issued with a Certificate of Return by INEC.
It was after the issuance of the certificate of return on Okafor that his attention was drawn to the suit pending at the Kubwa division of the FCT High Court.
Having become aware of the suit, Okafor approached the court seeking to set aside the entire proceedings as well as any order emanating there from and for injunctive orders against INEC in respect of Ehime Mbano / Ihitte Uboma /Obowo Federal Constituency of Imo state.
While the said application was pending for hearing, Nwajiuba who contested and lost the election to Okafor, approached the FCT High Court on April 29, 2019 to compel the INEC to enforce its ruling delivered of February 12 2019.
Consequently, the electoral body in compliance with the said ruling of the FCT High Court issued a certificate of return to Nwajuba of the Accord Party as the elected member of the federal constituency.
Meanwhile, Justice Bello Kawu while ruling on the applications by Okafor dated May 13, 2019, for the setting aside of its injunctive orders and the entire proceedings, had on June 10, 2019 refused to grant it on the grounds that he has become functus officio.