Special Assistant to the President on Prosecutions and Head of Special Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property, Okoi Obono-Obla has disclosed that the judgement made by the Federal High Court in Abuja doesn’t affect the candidacy of All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, John Owan-Enoh and other candidates under the party in Cross Rivers State for the 2019 general elections.
Obono-Obla last week backed APC governorship candidate, Owan-Enoh to represent the party despite suit case filed by some of the aggrieved aspirants who lost during the party primaries to a High Court in Abuja.
He revealed that since Senator John Owan-Enoh (Governorship Candidate of APC in Cross River State) and indeed all other candidates for the National and State Assemblies produced at the Primaries held in October, 2018, who were not made parties by the Plaintiffs in the case; no order made by the Court is binding on them.
In nhis words: “Another defect, I have picked in the judgment delivered by the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja in the suit filed against All Progressives Congress , APC by Sylvester Okpo; Mrs Eugenia Abu and Charles Asu concerning the Ward , Local Government Areas and State Congresses held in May 2018 (which sort of renders the judgment/order otiose); is that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Candidates produced in the Primaries conducted in October 2018 by the National Working Committee.
“This is clearest indication that the judgment does not affect all the candidates produced in the Primaries conducted by the National Working Committee in October 2018.
“In Law, it is fundamental principle that any body or Party that is not joined in any case cannot be affected by any subsequent judgment or order made by the Court that heard the case. In other words, a judgment /order is only binding to parties that where either Plaintiffs (Claimants) or defendants (Respondents).
“This principle is embedded in the right to fair hearing cognizable by Section 36 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). Certainly you cannot condemn a man you have not heard.
“Even God gave Adam a fair hearing; even though Adam was caught red handed eating the forbidden fruit.
‘’…But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” 11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?’’ Book of Genesis 3 verses 9-11
“It follows that since Senator John Owan-Enoh (Governorship Candidate of APC in Cross River State) and indeed all other candidates for the National and State Assemblies produced at the Primaries held in October, 2018, who were not made parties by the Plaintiffs in the case; no order made by the Court is binding on them.
“In the same vain, since INEC was also not made a Party the judgment /order is not binding on it. This is why I previously submitted that the judgment / order is otiose or made in vain.