Appeal Court Affirms Nnamani’s Election as Senator

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By Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has affirmed the election of Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani as the senator representing Enugu East Senatorial District.

The appellate court in affirming Nnamani’s election dismissed the appeal filed by Prince Lawrence Ezeh of the All Progressives Congress (APC), challenging the judgement of Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja, which upheld Nnamani’s election as Senator representing Enugu East Senatorial District.

Ezeh had instituted the suit seeking to disqualify Nnamani as the validly nominated candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), alleging irregularities in the signing of his nomination form.

But the three man panel of Justices of the appellate court in its Judgment delivered on June 19, agreed with the earlier decision of Justice Ekwo which dismissed the original suit for lacking in merit and being statute barred.

Counsel to the appellant, Dr. Frank Ikpe, had argued extensively that the case was not statute barred and that the lower court erred in law not to have proceeded to the merits of the claim.

But Senator Nnamani, in his response through his lawyer, Obinna Onyia, who held brief for Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, submitted that the case of the appellant was not brought in compliance with Section 285(9) of the constitution (as amended).

Also, counsel to the PDP, Tobechukwu Nweke urged the appellate court to dismiss the appeal as being frivolous and lacking in merit.

In the judgement read by Justice Mohammed Idris, the Court of Appeal, adopted the arguments canvassed by the respondents that the plaintiff did not initiate the suit within the 14 days allowed by the fourth alteration to the constitution. The appellate court concluded that the appeal lacked merit and accordingly dismissed it.

It will be recalled that the Court of Appeal, Enugu Division, had on June 14, 2019 dismissed an appeal by the former senator representing Enugu East Senatorial District, Prince Gilbert Nnaji, seeking to unseat Senator Nnamani based on a similar premise.

The appellate court had in a unanimous decision resolved the issues for determination in favour of Nnamani and his party, the PDP, agreeing with the April 5, 2019 judgment of Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court sitting in Enugu that the original suit was filed outside the 14-day period allowed by law from the date of the occurrence of the event.

The appellate court had therefore dismissed the appeal as being statute barred and lacking in merit.