Senator Peter Nwaoboshi of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), representing North Senatorial District, Delta State has urged the Court of Appeal in Abuja to reverse a judgment of the Federal High Court, declaring Ned Nwoko the candidate of the party in the last election in the district.
Nwaoboshi’s request is contained in an appeal he filed against the April 3, 2019 judgment by Justice Ahmed Mohammed, which upheld a pre-election suit by Nwoko and voided Nwaoboshi’s nomination for the senatorial district’s election that was held on February 23, 2019.
On Tuesday, Nwaoboshi’s lawyer, Anthony Idigbe (SAN) told the court that he has filed an application to abridge time within which the appeal should be heard, because the respondent refused to respond to the appellant’s briefs of argument.
Idigbe said that the judgment being challenged was delivered on 3rd April, 2019 and that by constitutional provision, the appeal will lapse on 3rd June, 2019.
He urged the court to the time, within which the respondent should file his response, to five days.
Nwoko’s lawyer, Ahmed Raji (SAN) did not object to Idigbe’s request, but sought seven days to file his response.
Lawyers to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Anthony Onyere and Emmanuel Inodem did not also object.
In a ruling, a three-man panel of the appellate court ordered Nwoko, INEC and PDP to, within five days, file their responses.
It gave Nwaoboshi one day to reply and adjourned till May 22, 2019 for hearing.
Nwaoboshi is, in the appeal, contending that the trial court erred in law when it held that the 14 days, allowed by the Constitution, stopped running in view of the 1st respondent’s previous action on the subject matter before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), marked: CV/ 3086/18, which was withdrawn and struck out on 10th December 10, 2018.
He argued that the earlier suit before the FCT High Court was itself statute barred as it was filed on October 19, 2018 outside of the 14 days allowed, and which was not capable of giving jurisdiction to the trial court.
Nwaoboshi equally argued that the conditions precedent for the trial court to exercise jurisdiction was not met by the plaintiff, which implied that the suit was dead on arrival for being statute barred.
The Senator asserted that he won the primary election of the PDP, held on October 2, 2018 which was the issue complained about in the originating summons filed by Nwoko.
Nwaoboshi wants the court to determine whether the trial court was right when it held that this suit filed on December 1, 2018 was not statute barred in the light of the 14 days allowed in Section 285 (9) of the Fourth Alteration Act.
He is also seeking determination whether the trial court was right to have assumed jurisdiction on the grounds that Nwoko had earlier filed a suit on 19th October, 2018 before the FCT High Court to challenge the same primary election of 2nd October, 2018 which suit was withdrawn and struck out on 10th December, 2018.
Nwaoboshi wants the appellate court to determine whether the trial court would have arrived at the conclusions it reached and grant Nwoko’s prayers had it properly evaluated the evidence before it and applied the law correctly.