By Umar Ardo
Yes, my application to be joined as an interested party was dismissed. I will of course institute an appeal immediately at the Supreme Court praying the apex court to not only set aside the ruling of the Appeal Court but to also go ahead and determine the substantive matter. It is sad the Appeal Court gave this ruling not minding the fact that liberal access to court by citizens is the hallmark of civilized society. It is a barometer distinguishing between a good democratic society and a bad one.
But beyond that, I also object to the fact that a matter of this nature, challenging the eligibility of President Jonathan, was given to a judge whose background is inherently unlikely to dispense justice. Not only that the Presiding Judge is from Bayelsa state, and from Ogbia Local Government Area, making him the same Local Government with President Jonathan, and from Otuegwe village, a sister village of Jonathan’s Otuoke community, but also along with the president, is generally believed to belong to the Ogbia Brotherhood, a socio-politcal organization established to advance the cause of Ogbia people worldwide.
Under such circumstances it is my conviction that justice cannot be served. If there was any intention to serve justice to this case, such a Judge should not have been appointed to preside on this panel, and where appointed, having regard to the possible effect to the integrity and independence of the judiciary, he should have honourably disqualified himself. Both the Appeal Court and the Justice himself, should have taken cue from a similar matter involving President Jonathan which was assigned to a Judge from Bayelsa State, but the Honourable Judge disqualified himself on the ground that he may not do justice to the matter and the case was subsequently returned to the FCT Chief Judge for assignment to another Judge from another state. The fact that this did not happen in this instance case is to me a clear indication that justice was not meant to be served in the matter ab initio.
Nonetheless, I am bound by the judgment and I will pay the N100,000 cost put on me, but will appeal the ruling at the Supreme Court’.
Dr. Umar Ardo resides in Abuja