The Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) has caused its counsel, Barr. Femi Aborisade, to set in motion committal proceedings against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Attorney-General of the Federation for their failure and refusal to deal with the PRP as a registered political party in Nigeria in obedience to the judgment of the Federal High Court delivered on 17th December. 2015.
A statement issued in Kaduna Monday by the party’s National Chairman, Alh. Balarabe A. Musa, stated that, “To this effect, the bailiff of the Federal High Court, Abuja Judicial Division, has served on the Attorney-General of the Federation, the Chairman of INEC and some other INEC officials ‘Form 48’ – Notice of consequences of disobedience of court orders. The Form 48 was signed by the Registrar of the Federal High Court on 5th May, 2016.
“By the service of Form 48, the INEC Chairman and the Attorney-General of the Federation are being notified that unless the Judgment of the Court is obeyed forthwith, they “shall be guilty of contempt of court and shall be liable to be committed to prison.”
The statement stressed that, “In the event that the INEC Chairman and the Attorney-General of the Federation fail to cause the Judgment of the Court to be fully obeyed, we have further instructed our counsel to file a motion (Form 49) for committing the INEC Chairman and the Attorney-General of the Federation to prison.”
It would be recalled that on 17/12/15, the Hon. Justice Adeniyi Francis Adedeji Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja Judicial Division, delivered a judgment and ordered that the status of the PRP (and two other political parties – the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) and the Better Nigeria Progressive Party (BNPP) as registered political parties be restored, and that the defendants in the suit should deal with PRP and the other parties as registered political parties.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Attorney-General of the Federation were the Defendants in the suit – Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/806/14.
“However, in spite of the fact that the defendants are aware of the orders of the Court and despite having been served with the Certified True Copies (CTCs) of the Judgment and the enrolled Orders, the defendants, the INEC and the Attorney-General have remained recalcitrant and obdurate in obeying the judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction.
“The PRP seizes this opportunity to warn the Federal Government of Nigeria against perpetrating the culture of disobedience of court orders. As the apex court of this country has pointed out in Saidu Garba v. F.C.S.C. & Anor (1988) 7 SC (Pt. II) 170, the full implication of a country opting for a rule of law is that once parties have turned over their disputes to the court, none of them – be it a government or an individual – should do anything in the nature of self-help, which could render whatever judgment it may give nugatory.
“Also, in Military Governor of Lagos v. Ojukwu & Anor (1986) NSCC 304, the Supreme Court reiterated that disobedience of court orders by the executive arm of government amounts to executive lawlessness, and that where the rule of law is forced to abdicate, the rule of tyranny is automatically enthroned. The Federal Government of Nigeria has a responsibility to deepen Nigeria’s democracy and not to destroy it.”