Concerns Mount over Delay by Appeal Court to Constitute Panel on Abia North Senatorial Election


Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia

Over month after the National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Umuahia upheld the election of Chief Mao Ohuabunwa of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the senator representing Abia North, the Court of Appeal in Owerri is yet to hear the appeal filed to challenge the verdict.

The Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) candidate and former Governor Orji Uzor Kalu, had through his legal team appealed against the judgement of the tribunal.

THISDAY however, has reliably gathered that the Court of Appeal, Abuja despite receiving the application of the former governor a few days after the judgement of the tribunal, is yet to constitute a panel to hear the motion for substituted service, which ought to have been heard at the Court of Appeal, Owerri and thus preventing the court from serving a notice on Ohuabunwa.

Based on further investigations, it was revealed the action of the court is a deliberate attempt to ensure that Kalu’s application is not heard before the 60 days timeline as required by law.
The move to frustrate the appeal of the PPA candidate is purportedly being orchestrated by some staff of the judiciary who have allegedly colluded with the PDP candidate to circumvent the judicial process.

Speaking under the condition of anonymity, a senior official of the Court of Appeal, Abuja who confirmed the development said: “This is not the first time such unethical conduct is happening. It is rather sad.

“It is the handiwork of fraudulent staff who are conniving with politicians to abuse the judicial system.”

Efforts by THIDAY to reach the lawyers of Kalu and Ohuabunwa proved abortive, as they did not take their calls nor respond to text messages.