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Court of Appeal affirms Gov. Obiano's election.

By Emeka Ozumba

The Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu has unanimously affirmed the judgment of the Justice Ishaq Bello-led Governorship Election Petition Tribunal Awka on June 24, 2014, which upheld the election of Chief Willie Obiano of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the November 2013 Anambra Gubernatorial elections, and his return by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the winner and Governor of Anambra State. The five-man Appeal Court panelist dismissed four different appeals by the aggrieved candidates who challenged the earlier judgment of the lower tribunal.

The appeals filed by the candidates include: Senator Chris Ngige of the All Progressives Congress (APC) versus INEC and others in EPT/AN/07/2014; Comrade Tony Nwoye against Chief Willie Obiano, APGA and others in suit No. EPT/AN/08/2014; PDP versus Chief Willie Obiano and APGA in suit No. EPT/AN/09/2014 and Dr. Chike Obidigbo versus Chief Willie Obiano in suit No. EPT/AN/10/2014 respectively.

The five-man Appellate Court panel led by Hon Justice Garba Mohammed Lawal in their unanimous summary judgment delivered Saturday, July 26, 2014 declared that all the four appeals against the election and return of Obiano as governor lacked merit. The Hon Justices also assessed and awarded costs of N50, 000 each against each of the applicants/appellants. Other members of the Appeal panel are Justices Ejembi Eko, I.C. Akeju, Tijani Abubakar and M. Mustapha.

The presiding Justice Mohammed Lawal Garba who delivered the lead judgment on the appeal filed by Sen. Ngige, said that the Court of Appeal sat on July 17, 2014 to examine each of the appeals. He declared that the court had considered preliminary issues and all objections formulated and presented by the counsels to the parties before the Appellate Court and resolved each of 11 issues against the appellant(s). Justice Garba also assured that details of the judgment in the appeal would be ready for collection at the Court after the delivery of the judgment same day.

In the second lead judgment on the appeal filed by the PDP candidate, Comrade Nwoye against INEC and Governor Willie Obiano, Justice Ejembi Eko, equally dismissed the appeal for lack of merit and awarded N50, 000 cost in favour of the respondent. In the same vein, the third appeal filed by PDP which was read by Hon Justice Akeju was also dismissed for lack of merit with cost of N50, 000.00 against the appellant; while Hon Justice Abubakar read the fourth judgment in the appeal filed by Dr. Chike Obidigbo and held that although the third issue in the appeal was resolved in favour of the appellant, it is not substantial because the major grounds of appeal were resolved in favour of Governor Obiano.

Reacting to the judgment, the National Chairman of the APGA, Chief Victor Umeh praised the Court of Appeal for affirming the mandate that the majority of Ndi Anambra gave to both APGA and Governor Obiano, adding that the court resolved issues in favour of the respondents meritoriously.

Said Umeh:'We have always known that an election petition is not a Mungo Park story; an aggrieved party should approach the court with facts.' He argued. On the appeal by Obidigbo seeking the order of the court to install him as governor rather than governor Obiano , Umeh described it as bizarre, stressing that the Court of Appeal was right in throwing it away.

Chief Victor concluded amidst songs and dance by party faithful who thronged the court premises, 'the favourable judgment is a big boost that would spur APGA to go for the next election as the party to beat.' He also sympathized with the defeated appellants, and advised them to give peace a chance and join hands with Governor Obiano who he said is running an all-inclusive government.

Gav Enoch | 8/1/2014 12:12:00 AM
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