Olotu: Supreme Contempt ,By Oshoke Julius



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If the two senators and nine National Assembly members of the CPC had known the antecedents of Justice Gladys Olotu of the Federal High Court they could have sensed imminent judicial jeopardy when the case of their political opponents already decided conclusively by the Supreme Court was assigned to her. They were most certainly confident that the hallowed principles of judicial adherence to precedence plus the finality of Supreme Court verdicts would be respected and upheld by the judge. Today the embattled CPC legislators know better about the peculiar perambulations which override judicial principles in madam’s court as they ponder over their predicament. The fact that the judge postponed the date for delivering her verdict three times before unleashing it was definitely ominous. Perhaps it is cold comfort for them that they are not the first to come under such baptism of (in)justice !

Justice Gladys Olotu then of the Federal High Court Uyo Judicial Division set aside and overruled the Supreme Court verdict in the case suit no: FHC/UY/CS/47/2003 of patent right infringement litigation between CCNL AND MPNU (Mobil). The matter had been taken to the Supreme Court and struck out yet it was not only entertained by Justice Gladys Olotu but she even made pronouncements on the issues that were struck out by the Supreme Court.  Outrageously, she admitted allegations against a party (MPNU) which were denied by the same party (MPNU) only to give judgment against the party that made the allegation (CCNL)!

More recently  at an Abuja court where the Federal Government and Delta State are contending for ownership of the so-called Ibori- money,  Justice Gladys Olotu had earlier been ordered not to entertain the case following an EFCC petition on the matter. The case was re-assigned to Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court in Abuja, and was adjourned to September 17, 2012. Nevertheless, Justice Olotu set a date to hear the matter.

 

This same judge was earlier the subject of petition alleging bias in the pre-election matter involving the PDP’s Enugu’s governorship candidates in the state. Justice Gladys Olotu disqualified herself from further adjudicating over the matter after a mild drama played out as the judge who had risen after delivering her ruling later reconvened and consequently vacated her earlier order fixing hearing for May 23, disqualified herself and transferred the matter to Court 3.

There was also the case in suit no. FHC/CA/110/2001 filed by Inih Ebong, associate professor of theatre arts, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State at the Federal High Court, Calabar, challenging the stoppage of his salary and the enforcement of his fundamental human rights. For four years the court, presided by Justice Gladys Olotu was dealing with preliminary issues rather than the substantive issues.

Incredibly in a petition written by Ebong to the chairman, National Judicial Council, NJC, dated July11, 2005, to the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, through the Uyo chapter of the association on September 15, 2005, the chief judge of the Federal High Court on October 19, 2005 and eventually to Gani Fawehinmi , Ebong said the suit no. FHC/UY/CS/86/03 which was filed to reverse the stoppage of his salary had been adjourned twenty three times without determining the committal proceedings since April 2003 without counter affidavit. Ebong said that suits nos. FHC/UY/CS/127/03 and FHC/UY/CS/126/03 have similarly been adjourned 17 and 19 times respectively since April, 2003 with no hearing while suit no FHC/UY/CS/126/03 which was changed to FHC/UY/CS/12/05 has suffered 21 adjournments since April 2003.

With these antecedents perhaps there should not have been such outrage that Justice Gladys Olotu defied the principle of adherence to judicial precedence by disregarding the Supreme Court’s well considered endorsement of the legitimacy of the mandate of the Katsina CPC legislators who have now been targeted again. These recollections of her previous “performance” will certainly explain the inexplicable not just about the court-contrived contempt for the apex court and judicial processes but for the seeming entrenchment of its perpetrator. That such a spectacle is manifesting under democratic dispensation involving an arm of government that is supposed to be an arbiter against excesses of the executive and the legislature and, for that matter, targeting legislators, is simply stupefying.

The last word will not be that of Justice Olotu but that of the rubbished Supreme Court itself where this vicious cycle of judicial victimization of Katsina CPC legislators will ultimately lead to sooner than later. Still, it may not necessarily be cause for cheer that the Supreme Court will have an opportunity to redress the travesty of justice because the last time it had an opportunity to redress an Olotu outrage, it adjourned the opportunity for all of 202 days……….

OSHOKE JULIUS WRITES FROM AUCHI


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