YDP officials guilty of contempt for misrepresenting judgment, says court
A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday established a case of contempt against officials of the newly registered Young Democratic Party for misrepresenting a judgment of the court which had ordered INEC to register it.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed, in his ruling, ordered officials of the party to hold a world press conference within 24 hours to refute the claims they made at a press conference on March 4.
He also ordered them to depose to an affidavit refuting their claims at the March 4 conference and file same before the court.
The judge also said that the court would not hesitate to commit the party’s officials to prison if they fail to comply with his order by the next adjourned date of March 31.
It would be recalled that the court had on March 4 ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to register YDP as a new political party.
The court had held that YDP had fulfilled political party registration requirements in line with Section 78 (4) of the Electoral Act, as amended.
The judge had in the judgment only ordered the INEC to issue certificate of registration to the party. YDP did not ask for inclusion in the polls in its amended originating summons filed in Dec. 2014.
However, following the judgment, YDP officials at a press conference claimed that the court had ordered INEC to shift the 2015 elections in order to accommodate the party in the elections.
Embarrassed by this, the judge summoned all the officials of the party who were involved in the conference to appear before him on March 23.
At Monday’s proceedings, Mr Kelvin Nwufor, SAN, YDP’s counsel said that his clients wrongly interpreted the court’s judgment and offered an apology on their behalf, urging the court to treat justice with mercy.
INEC counsel, Mr Wale Balogun, said that the action of the party’s officials was contemptuous of the court and those involved ought to be sanctioned.
INEC has since appealed the judgment and also brought before the court a notice for stay of execution of the judgment.
Justice Mohammed adjourned the case until March 31 to hear the report of compliance with the order.