Law News
NASS Tribunal: Nwabueze wins round one

Enugu State election petitions tribunal has upheld an application by the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, in the Enugu East senatorial election, Nwabueze Okafor for issuance of pre-trial proceedings in his case against Senator Gilbert Nnaji of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

This came as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Change, PDC, for the Enugu-East senatorial district, former Governor Chimaroke Nnamani’s petition challenging the declaration of Gilbert Nnaji of PDP as winner, was reassigned to another tribunal for administrative convenience.

Ruling on Okafor’s application, Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Mike Edem, said it was not only “timely but also brought in accordance with the law.”

He, therefore, ordered that the pre-trial proceedings which should be handled by a new tribunal set up to decongest Enugu election petitions commence without further delay. Okafor, who is challenging the declaration of Nnaji as the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had through his counsel, George  Igbokwe, applied for the pre-trial proceedings.

When the matter came up for hearing on  June 24, Nnaji’s counsel, Patrick Ikwueto,SAN, had vigorously opposed the application on the ground that it was filed out of time, asking the court to dismiss the motion and entire petition.

Igbokwe had on the other hand urged the court to uphold the pre- trial application, saying it was timely since it was served on June 9, after the court had permitted Nnaji’s lawyers to amend their process which was erroneously filed by them.

Ruling on the application, Justice Edem wholeheartedly agreed with the petitioner’s counsel that the motion was filed on time and ordered that the pre-trial proceedings commence immediately while awarding N20,000 against Nnaji.

“And since we still have many cases pending before us which we are not sure we will conclude before October, I hereby transfer that matter to the new tribunal which we have constituted to decongest Enugu State election petitions which will begin sitting next week”, the Judge held.


Click here to read from source.