Appeal Court Affirms Chime's Election

BEVERLY HILLS, CA, December 13, (THEWILL) - Victory came for the Enugu State governor, Sullivan Chime, as the Abuja division of the Court of Appeal on Friday affirmed his election by dismissing an appeal seeking to void the election that brought him into office. A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Enugu State, Chief Alexander Obiechina, had gone to  the Court of Appeal to challenge the refusal of an Abuja Federal High Court to nullify the nomination process that led to Chime's emergence as the candidate of the PDP. He had asked the court to determine whether there was a valid primary election held in Enugu State on January 12, 2011, in which Chime was nominated as the PDP candidate. Obiechina insisted that the laid down conditions for the nomination of candidates for governorship positions, as enshrined in sections 85(1) and 87(1)(4)(b) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), were not fulfilled when Chime emerged. According to him, the date on which the primary election that produced Chime was held differed from the date approved by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)  for the conduct of the said primary election. He therefore asked the appellate court to nullify the primary election and order Chime to vacate the office forthwith. But the  Appeal Court presided over by Justice M. D. Dongban-Mensem ruled on Friday  that the suit was an academic exercise and therefore lacked merit. Justice Dongban-Mensem in dismissing  Obiechina's appeal, held  that Chime's election could not be nullified based on the grounds set out in the appeal as the court said  the appellant (Obiechina) did not participate in the election. "It is no longer possible to nullify his (Chime's) election on account of the said wrongful nomination. "The suit is an academic exercise. The applicant was not a candidate in the said election and he is not asking to be declared the governor," the court held.