Appeal Court Reserves Judgment in Suit Challenging Nwajiuba’s Election

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Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Court of Appeal on Wednesday reserved judgment in the appeal brought by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Chike Okafor, seeking to nullify the judgment of an Abuja High Court, that produced Emeka Nwajiuba of the Accord Party, as a member of the House of Representatives for Ehimembano/Ihiteuboma/Obowo Federal constituency of Imo State.

The three-man panel of the appellate court comprising Justice Adamu Jauro, Stephen Adah and Justice Wison Akomolafe took the decision after rejecting moves by Kingdom Okere, counsel for Emeka Nwajiuba, to terminate the appeal.

The panel insisted it will hear the appeal on its merit.

The appellants in the multiple appeal asked the appellate court to reverse the decision of Justice Bello Kawau of the Bwari division of the FCT High Court which had barred the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), from accepting or listing the candidate of the APC in the rescheduled National Assembly election.

The said order issued on February 12, 2019, gave rise to the eventual emergence of Nwajiuba as a representatives of the federal constituency in controversial circumstances.

In the appeal proper, Okafor had through his counsel, Solomon Umoh (SAN), urged the Court of Appeal to nullify the decision of Justice Kawau on the grounds that the judge erred in law in holding that he was functus officio to set aside his order of April 29, 2019 and the entire proceedings in suit No. FCT/HC/CV/423/2018.

The appellant contended that the refusal of the judge to set aside his orders of April 29 as well as the entire proceedings in the suit has occasioned a miscarriage of justice.

Umoh further told the court that he was never made a party to the suit and Mrs. Uzoma Chioma Mary Ann who originated the suit knew that he and not Emeka Nwajuba (3rd respondent) was the candidate of the APC for the Federal constituency seat.

He submitted that the order made by the judge on April 29, 2019 was against the appellant, who was not a party before the court.

On his part, the National Legal Adviser of the APC, Babatunde Ogala, urged the appellate court to allow the appeal and set aside the judgment of the lower court.

The legal Adviser also asked the Court of Appeal to hold that the lower court lacked the jurisdiction to determine a pre- election matter outside its geographical area under the provisions of section 257 of the 1999 constitution.

The party submitted that both the decision of February 12, 2019 which gave birth to the ruling of April 29, 2019 were barred by statute having been made outside the mandatory period allowed by law.

After taking submissions of counsel, the appellate announced that judgment in the matter had been reserved to a date that would be communicated to parties.