— Declines his alternative writ of prohibition
Questions over the nationality of the man that President George Weah controversially nominated to be the Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC) are no longer of essence as his fate has been decided by the final arbiter of justice, the Supreme Court of Liberia, with no hope of him retaining his alleged Liberian citizenship, if he ever had one.
The embattled Cllr. Ndubusi Nwabudike, who could not authenticate his claims to Liberian nationality which he said he acquired in the early 1980s, was dealt a major blow when the Supreme Court decided not to act on his expulsion from the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA).
Justice-In-Chamber, Associate Justice Jamesetta Wolokollie, on Friday, July 24, declined to issue an Alternative Writ of Prohibition seeking to prevent Nwabudike’s expulsion from the Bar, following her July 23, 2020 legal conference between the party lawyers in the chamber of the Supreme Court.
It can be recalled in March of this year, the President of the LNBA, Cllr. Tiawan S. Gongloe, wrote the Bar’s grievance and ethics committee to investigate reports of Cllr. Nwabudike having faked his Liberian citizenship. Only Liberian citizens (whether native or naturalized) can be admitted to the LNBA. In the case of Nwabudike, who was born in Nigeria to Nigerian parents who migrated to Liberia, he violated the Bar’s requirements for admission through the use of falsified documents to pose as a naturalized Liberian citizen. This, the LNBA believes, is an egregious ethical transgression warranting expulsion.
The expelled member of the LNBA lied under oath about his Citizenship during confirmation hearing at the Liberian Senate when he was nominated by President Weah to the helm of the NEC.
During the Senate hearing, Cllr. Nwabudike provided conflicting information about his Liberian nationality, which he said he obtained at age 17, though the Liberian Constitution only provides such status at the age of maturity, 18.
The Nigerian national also lied about his date of birth, as four different essential documents had four different dates of birth. These embarrassing revelations, the LNBA President noted, hangs a dark cloud over the hard-earned integrity of the legal profession in Liberia and it led to the Bar association expelling Cllr. Nwabudike.
The NEC, which the Nigerian Lawyer was poised to head if his nomination was confirmed, is a one of Liberia’s key integrity institutions, charged with the constitutional authority of conducting elections for Legislative, presidential and other statutory elected positions in Liberian government. According to the Constitution, the NEC should be chaired by a Liberian citizen.
Meanwhile, Nwabudike, who has been and still is Chairman of yet another major integrity institution — the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) — has not yet been asked by the President of Liberia, George Manneh Weah, to step down from that tenured position. Now that the Supreme Court has, in not so many words, endorsed the LNBA’s penalty upon Nwabudike, it remains to be seen whether another wave of bad press, possible diplomatic pressure, as well as public uproar, will move the President to simply tell the Nigerian to step aside.