The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu can heave a sigh of relief.

This is because the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal has voided his arrest.

Justice Stephen Pam of the Federal High Court had, on August 1, 2018, ordered the Police to arrest Yakubu for allegedly refusing, on three occasions, to honour the court’s summons to face a contempt charge instituted against him by an acclaimed chairman of the Anambra State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ejike Oguebego.

Eguebego’s contempt suit was predicated on the allegation that the INEC chairman had refused to honour a judgment of the Supreme Court delivered in December 2014, which directed INEC to recognise him as the chairman of the PDP in Anambra State.

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But a five-man panel of the Court of Appeal, led by Justice Abdu Aboki, has unanimously set aside the arrest warrant on the grounds that the INEC chairman was denied fair hearing in the proceedings leading to the issuance of the arrest warrant.

The Court of Appeal also ordered that the case file be taken away from the judge who issued the arrest warrant and be re-assigned to another judge of the court who would start the matter afresh.

Before the issuance of the arrest warrant on August 1, 2018, the Federal High Court had, in its ruling of July 5, 2018, ordered the INEC chairman to appear in court to answer to the contempt suit.

Subsequently, the Federal High Court, on August 1, 2018, ordered the Police to arrest him for his alleged continued refusal to honour the court’s summons.

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