Court Of Appeal Reaffirms Omo-agege’s Victory, Dismisses Amori’s Application

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BEVERLY HILLS, February 17, (THEWILL) – The Court of Appeal sitting in Benin City, Edo state Wednesday dismissed the fresh application filed by Chief Ighoyota Amori, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the Delta Central Senatorial District election of March 28 and April 25, 2015, seeking the court to set aside its judgement which declared Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, candidate of the Labour Party as winner of the election.

In a lead judgement written by the Chairman of the 5-man panel of the Court, Justice A. Aguie, read by Justice Raphael Agbo, the court held that it lacks jurisdiction to hear Amori’s application to set outside it earlier judgment, adding that the application is an abuse of court process.

According to judgement which other four justices concurred to,”What the appellant (Amori) wants this court to do is for the court to seat on appeal on a matter already determined, Court of Appeal can’t seat on Appeal, where do we manufacture jurisdiction from?

“Granted that the Appeal Court has an inherent jurisdiction to review cases, nevertheless such inherent jurisdiction cannot supersede constitutional provisions which stated clearly that all electoral matters emanating from National and House Assembly must be dispensed with within 60-Days from the date of delivery of judgement from the lower tribunal.

“Though the appellant stated that the application is a fresh one and is not emanating from election matter, but the appellant (Amori) failed to show the foundation which the application stand, and no application to Court of Appeal can stand on its own.”

The justice further said: “We affirm the objection of the respondents that this court lacks jurisdiction to hear this application in the first place as it amounts to an abuse of court process.”

THEWILL recalls that the appellate court had on December 19, 2015, nullified the election of Amori and declared Omo-Agege as winner of the election after it had set aside the verdict of the lower tribunal, which upheld the declaration of Amori as winner.

Not satisfied with the ruling, Amori had petitioned the President of the Court of Appeal and filed an application notice of appeal in a suit No: CB/5M/2016, urging the appeal court to set aside its earlier judgement sacking him.

The counsel to Chief Amori and PDP, Mr. Efe Akpofure SAN, urged the court to uphold its earlier judgment which had affirmed Amori’s victory in another suit filed by the APC and Hon. Halims Agoda.

However, counsel to Senator Omo-Agege, Mr. Robert Emukperou, in his submission, stated that the appellate court lacks jurisdiction to hear the case stressing that the decision of the court of appeal on legislative election matter is final and not subject to appeal or review.

According to him, “with regards to the fact that the constitution gave a 60-day window for hearing and disposal of anything what so ever that has to do with legislative election, this timeframe has since elapse, on December 22, 2015, hence the finality of the case.”

He had told the court that material evidence, pleading and relief sought in Agoda’s and Omo-Agege’s are different, stressing that when evidence and relief sought are different, the verdict consequently will be different.

He added that, “the basis upon which Amori’s application is predicated is an erroneous assumption which is that in one case the question of who won the election arose, meaning in Agoda’s case and that the other case that same question arose and that the court of appeal reached a different and conflicting decision.

While addressing Journalists after the judgement, Mr. Lucky Ajokperiniovo, counsel to Senator Omo-Agege, who represented the lead counsel Mr. Robert Emukperou, commended the courage of the justice for the ruling.