DisgracedNational Elections Commission (NEC) nominee Cllr. A. Ndubuisi Nwabudike wants the Civil Law Court in Monrovia to declare his citizenship right to enable him continue practicing law here, as lawyers probe into controversies surrounding his Liberian citizenship which recently denied him the privilege to chair the NEC.
Having worked at Good Governance Commission (GC), the Nigerian – born Cllr. Nwabudike who insists he naturalized in 1982 as Liberian, was serving a tenure as Liberia Anti – Corruption Commission (LACC) chair when President George Manneh Weah appointed him last month to head the NEC, his third job in less than two years.
Until his nomination last month as NEC chair, Cllr. Nwabudike’s previous confirmation by the Liberian Senate as LACC chair seemed to have gone smoothly without Liberia’s weak system detecting any issues surrounding how he acquired Liberian citizenship which enabled him to practice law here.
In Count Five of his petition before the Civil Law Court, Nwabudike complains that notwithstanding his service to the Liberian Government, it is speculated by some group hiding under the banner of the LNBA (Liberia National Bar Association) to challenge his status as Liberian citizen.
He laments that until the court declares his citizenship to clear the minds of those doubtful of his Liberian Nationality, “he stands to suffer [continued] violation of his rights as a Liberian citizen.”
Following his testimony at a Senate confirmation hearing last week for the NEC top job, the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) mandated its Grievance and Ethics Committee to expeditiously conduct an investigation into facts and circumstances surrounding issues raised about Nwabudike’s citizenship to verify whether or not he met the requirement of becoming a Liberian citizen.
At the Senate hearing, Nwabudike consented that his passport carries October 2, 1963 while his records at the University of Liberia have October 2, 1965, insisting that he did not have control over what is written about him at UL.
Senators and members of the public were concerned that even after naturalization, Nigerians do not forfeit their Nigerian citizenship until they make a declaration renouncing their Nigerian citizenship, and the president registers such declaration in accordance to Article 29 of Nigeria’s Constitution.
His failure to present to the Liberian Senate an evidence that he had renounced his Nigerian citizenship and to show proof that his declaration had been registered by the president of Nigeria appeared to have given the confirmation hearing a suggestion that he may still be enjoying Nigerian citizenship while he carries a Liberian passport.
But in his petition, Nwabudike tells the Court that “there is no provision under our laws which requires presentation of certificate of renunciation of citizenship from the country of original birth …”
Prior to his nomination being withdrawn by President Weah, River Gee County Sen. Conmany B. Wessehdispeled suggestion by some folks here that Nwabudike had been treated [with thorough scrutiny] because of his Nigerian origin or because he is a naturalized citizen, saying it’s on the basis of credibility.
“The issue is about being beyond reproach, somebody whose character is questionable by everything that he’s done,” Sen. Wesseh clarified, adding that Liberians have nothing against Nwabudike.By Winston W. Parley