Skip to main content

Appeal Court Justice Disappears with Andy Uba Judgement

February 18, 2008
Saharareporters, New York

A stench of corruption now hovers over yesterday’s judgment of the Federal Court of Appeal in Enugu which ruled that the Anambra State Electoral Tribunal overstepped its bound by ruling that the so-called gubernatorial election in the state was a non-event. One source close to Uba disclosed to Saharareporters that the ex-presidential aide confided that he had given substantial bribes to each of the justices.

 According to our source, Uba’s decision to get a “favorable” judgment at all costs comes from his desperation to acquire legal immunity from criminal prosecution.

 The source said Uba was aware that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had compiled a massive dossier on his ill-gotten assets. Uba, who played a role in the removal of Nuhu Ribadu as chairman of the EFCC, is reportedly jittery that Ribadu, a personal friend of his, was close to arresting him.

According to our source, Uba has not been able to rest easy despite Ribadu’s removal. He has confided in close associates that he cannot trust current EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde to leave him alone.

 Our source also revealed that former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Uba had held formal and informal negotiations with Umar Yar’adua to ensure that Uba is not harassed by the anti-corruption agency. According to him, Yar’adua and Attorney General Michael Aondoakaa then advised Uba to secure a judgment from the Court of Appeal that could be interpreted as a restoration of Uba’s illegitimate mandate. “Chief Uba was told that once he gets such a judgment, the Yar’adua government would protect him by using the argument that he has immunity as a sworn-in governor,” said our source.

 Armed with that encouragement, Uba reportedly sweetened the offer he had earlier made to the justices.

 Justice Domgbam Mensen, the female jurist who read yesterday’s judgment that was written by Justice Kumasi, subsequently disappeared with the judgment, stranding attorneys in the case who sought a copy of the judgment.

 Since yesterday, Mr. Andy Uba’s lawyers and media handlers have used the media to mislead the public with the erroneous spin that the judgment granted Mr. Andy Uba "victory" to remain the validly elected governor of Anambra State in 2010.

 While a few newspapers correctly noted that the judgment was a mere academic exercise, several other reports induced by Andy Uba's lawyers and media aides gave the impression that the judgment’s effect is to return Uba to the governor’s office in two years.

One source close to Uba’s camp In the verdict, Justice Mensen had excoriated the Elections Petitions Tribunal for going beyond its brief and jurisdiction to grant a relief not sought by plaintiffs in the petition. Based on the Supreme Court judgment of June 14, 2007, the tribunal had ruled that Uba’s so-called election was a fiction.


Uba asked the appellate court to declare that the tribunal’s position was wrong since none of the petitioners had asked for that particular relief. 

Many legal analysts including lawyers on both sides of the case agree that, even though the appellate court took Uba’s line, the judgment was an academic exercise that carries no weight.

 Even so, Saharareporters has been informed that the Appeal Court judges may have compromised their offices by receiving bribes from Mr. Andy Uba to give an “uncertain judgment” that hands Uba ammunition to prosecute a public relations campaign that he is a governor-in-waiting. “The judges told Uba they would make fools of themselves by declaring him a governor-in-waiting,” said our source, “but they promised him a technical ‘victory’ that gives him room to gamble with another court case in 2010 asking that he be declared the governor. It’s a hopeless gamble, but Uba desperately needed it.”  

 Contrary to high court rules and regulations, the lead justice refused as of twenty-four hours after delivering the judgement to provide copies to the lawyers who opposed Uba in the case.

Saharareporters learnt that Mrs. Justice Mensen suddenly flew from Enugu to Abuja where she claims that she is making fresh amendments to the judgment she already read in an open court.

 When the Supreme Court ruled on January 29, 2008 that Andy Uba's case had no merit and thus threw it out, Mr. Uba's lead lawyer bragged openly that the case was not over yet. That boast, despite the fact that the Supreme Court judgment has the final say on any case, was because Uba had bribed the appeal court justices in Enugu to muddy the situation by delivering a judgment that would enable him to make a claim on power after the expiration of Governor Peter Obi’s tenure in 2010.

The Supreme Court had ruled that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) erred when it organized a fresh governorship election in Anambra when there was no vacancy.

 Most legal experts we interviewed told Saharareporters that the Supreme Court’s verdict precludes Uba from ever laying a claim to power based on his illegitimately acquired “mandate” of 2007. 

 One Lagos-based lawyer, Christian Okeke, told our correspondent that the Uba-sponsored misinformation in the media “is a desperate act by a man who wants to fool gullible people that he is a governor-in-waiting. Nothing is farther from the truth.”

 Speaking to our Abuja correspondent, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria contended that the Supreme Court’s decision that no governorship election should have been held in Anambra remains the binding constitutional verdict, despite the academic carrot the Federal Court of Appeal gave Uba. “Come 2010, the relevant part of the electoral act is that which stipulates that elections into a vacant gubernatorial position must be conducted no more than 60 days before the expiration of the current governor’s tenure,” he said. According to him, “If Uba's lawyers are telling him he’s going to become governor in 2010, they’re misleading him—and it may amount to a serious case of professional misconduct because they know better. Uba’s claim to victory in the current case is empty posturing, null, void and of no effect.” He added that the best Uba could get from yesterday’s judgment is another round of adventurous trips through the courts in 2010. And I can assure you that he will lose again—merely throwing more money into the pocket of his lawyers.”

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('comments'); });

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('content1'); });

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('content2'); });