By Damian Duruiheoma, Owerri
Sacked local government chairmen in Imo State have vowed to petition the National Judicial Council (NJC) against their removal.
Justice E.F. Njemanze, on November 27 declared the August 25, 2018 election which produced the 27 chairmen as null, void and of no effect.
Njemanze also ordered the former chairmen to return all salaries and allowances paid them to the state.
But Chairman of Isiala Mbano council, Jude Mbachu, who spoke for his colleagues, faulted the judgment and accused the judge of bias.
According to Mbachu, the council officials would petition the NJC and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) against the judgment because ‘we are of the view that the judgment was given out of hate’.
He said: “The judge used our matter to settle the scores his family has with former Governor Rochas Okorocha, over the dismantling of Njemanze Dynasty. We wrote a petition asking him to recuse himself because we didn’t have confidence in him.
“You cannot have an election matter for over two years and do nothing about it. He knew about the petition but he continued the matter still. Instead, he came to court to ask who Barr. Mbagwu is. It was Mbagwu who signed the petition then.”
Mbachu added that they have gone to the Court of Appeal to challenge the judgment
“The judgment can’t stand because the Supreme Court had decided the matter on the 2018 Imo council election in 2019. The matter was between Dr. Martins Nwoga and the Imo State Independent Electoral Commission (ISIEC); Attorney-General of Imo State, Governor of Imo State and Adauctus Onuoha
“The courts, including the Supreme Court, still upheld the election as duly conducted in compliance with the Electoral Act. We’re not even talking about the affirmation of our election by the Federal High Court where Justice Tijjani Ringim said we were validly elected.
“This matter has been in court since 2018. Why is it now that we gave notice for resumption of office that the judge gave judgment? We’re already going to the Court of Appeal to vacate that judgment because it will not stand”, he added.