A group, Centre for Credible Leadership & Citizens Awareness commended the leadership of the Senate for standing firm in defence of justice and giving Senator Dr. Steve Odey all necessary support.
The group said that “our coalition discussed the role of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Judiciary in our electoral system. The meeting focused squarely on strengthening institutions of government in order to continuously sustain the deepening of democracy in Nigeria.
Centre for Credible Leadership & Citizens Awareness, Director General, Dr. Nwambu Gabriel, said ” As an organization therefore whose core values is on Good Governance, we wish to x-ray our observation on the 25th February, 2021 judgement of the Supreme Court between Senator Dr. Steve Odey, a serving Senator representing Cross River North Senatorial District and Hon. Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe, headed by 7 eminent jurists.
He said “We wish to state that the Supreme Court did not rule on the substantive appeal of the matter, instead, it ruled on preliminary objection about improper service by substituted means, whereas, the same Supreme Court granted an order that the parties be served via substituted means and all the parties were in court. The Supreme Court did not nullify the certificate of return of the serving senator, Dr. Odey, neither was the seat declared vacant.
Dr Gabriel added that “It is pertinent to also state clearly that the Supreme Court did not sack Dr. Odey. Of course such powers do not reside with the Supreme Court. It is the election tribunal which can rule on such matters before it currently.
“Again, as a coalition, we have pondered on the entire matter and even wondered if the Judiciary is really the hope of the common man consequent to some observations in the supreme court on the 25th of February, 2021.The situation here is very clear. Section 285 (13) of the 1999 constitution as amended clearly state “that no tribunal or court shall declare any person winner of an election when he has not participated in all the stages of that election”.
He continued “For us in the Civil Society, this kind of incidence where a man who did not contest election coming to contest the seat of a Senator who has been sworn-in is completely absurd. It is worse than book-haram, banditry and kidnapping put together.
“We also wondered the interest of the Governor of a state in the politics of another state. Why the gang-up? His offence; he contested and won an election…This trend definitely is not healthy for our democracy.
“By this medium we wish to commend the Principal Officers of the 9th Senate ably led by the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan, as a man of impeccable character who has demonstrated unrelenting support for our democracy for standing firm in the defence of justice inspite of so much pressure by some clandestine groups to indulge in injustice, thereby truncating the height already attained as true democrat he is.
“The legal department is hereby commended for insisting on legal and legitimate due process as far as the Senate is concerned. Nigerians are indeed watching with keen interest the desperate disposition of some politicians who should not be found in the corridors of power.
Lastly, we wish to re- emphasize that Senator Dr. Steve Odey is still the Senator representing Cross River North Senatorial District as his seat was not declared vacant neither was his certificate of return nullified by any court of competent jurisdiction in Nigeria”