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Published On: Tue, Aug 14th, 2018

Allow INEC Chair to focus, Lawyer tells detractors

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By Ochiaka Ugwu

An Abuja based constitutional lawyer, Alexander Oketa, has asked those distracting the chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, in the way of unnecessary legal fireworks to desist henceforth to allow the electoral umpire to focus.
Oketa who made this known in Abuja yesterday in a press conference organized by the Transparency Centre Network was speaking on federal high court ruling in Abuja, which issued an arrest warrant on chairman of the electoral body.
Oketa said that he was not addressing the press to comment on the contempt proceedings as it will amount to subjudice as the case is before a court of law.
He therefore, warned anti-democratic forces to desist from attacking the INEC Chief as that is capable of distracting him in discharging his duty as we are approaching election year.
Oketa said the electoral body boss did not err in law, but only took legal steps after briefings from his lawyers by appealing the judgment.
His words, “The INEC Boss did not ignore court order or disregard court process. He only took cogent legal steps towards addressing the matter. He challenged the judgment as soon as it was passed. It is not an outlaw. He is only excising his right of appeal and fair hearing which are guaranteed by law”.
He therefore, urged Nigerians to shun propaganda saying that all citizens have it as an obligation to make the system work for the good of the nation.
It could be recalled that Justice Stephen Pam of the Federal High Court ordered the arrest of Yakubu after the INEC chairman failed to appear before him for the third time.
Pam made the order for Mahmood to appear before it while ruling on a preliminary objection by INEC and it’s Chairman in a contempt proceeding filed by Ejike Oguebego and Chuks Okoye, Chairman and Legal Adviser of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Anambra State, respectively.
The judge asked the police to immediately arrest the INEC chairman for failing to appear three consecutive times.

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