A nongovernmental organization, Nigerian Solidarity Group, has thrown its weight behind Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme of the Court of Appeal in Awka, Anambra State, for openly criticising judges who give judgments on political cases outside their territorial jurisdiction and lawyers who bring the cases to them.
Ruling on Monday on a motion by Chike Onyemenem (SAN) seeking to stop the execution of the order by Justice Charles C. Okaa of the Anambra State High Court in Awka, recognizing former Central Bank governor Charles Soludo as the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate in the November 6 gubernatorial election in the state, Justice Nwosu-Iheme lashed out at the erring legal professionals who, according to her, go from one part of the country to another in search of judgments to enable some politicians to run for public office.
Justice Musa Ubale of the Jigawa State High Court at Birnin Kudu had on June 28 delivered judgement over the leadership of the All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to accept Chukwuma Umeoji as its candidate in the November 6 Anambra State gubernatorial election.
The Imo State High court in Owerri, with Justice BC Iheka presiding, also delivered judgement on the APGA leadership and directed INEC to accept Umeoji as the APGA candidate without, as in the Jigawa State Court, hearing from Chief Victor Umeh, the INEC recognized APGA chairman.
The Nigeria Solidarity group applauded Justice Nwosu-Iheme for her “courage, professional integrity and robust defence of public interest by her sagacious pronouncement” while ruling on the motion brought by Onyemenem, counsel to Edozie Njoku, one of the claimants to the office of the APGA chairman.
Speaking today to journalists in Awka, the Nigeria Solidarity president, Dr Bernard Okeke, stated: “Only a member of the Bench without skeletons in the cupboard could be as fearlessly, courageously and magisterially as Justice Nwosu-Iheme has done.
“She not only criticized judges and legal practitioners who bring enormous embarrassment to the law profession through undue interference in political cases, the learned justice wisely asked that they be sanctioned accordingly for bringing both the Bar and the Bench into disrepute”.
Noting that Nwosu-Iheme has saved the judiciary from embarrassment through a proper ruling on what it termed a frivolous motion inspired by mischievous and unscrupulous politicians, Dr Okeke, who studied law in the United Kingdom before becoming an Onitsha-based industrialist, advised legal practitioners and judges to be more conscious of their role in society because justice and socially acceptable conduct are the cornerstone of a modern society.
Chief Okeke stressed that “justice must be administered without fear or favour, so we encourage members of the Bar and Bench to reject the inducements of politicians no matter how enticing”.
The group called on the law professionals to emulate Justice Nwosu-Iheme in the administration of justice, especially in all other pending cases concerning the electoral processes in Anambra State.