A'COURT ORDERS RE-TRIAL OF LP, TINUBU SUIT
By Bartholomew Madukwe & Chinyere Udeagbala
LAGOS -The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos, Tuesday, set aside the judgment of the Lagos National Assembly Election Tribunal, which dismissed the petition by Labour Party, LP, against the declaration of Mrs Oluremi Tinubu of Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as winner of the April 9 Lagos Central senatorial election.
The appellate court remitted the petition to the tribunal for re-trial by a fresh panel to be constituted by President of Court of Appeal.
The court in its lead judgment, by the Presiding Justice, Justice Helen Ogunmwumiju, said the Tribunal should not have dismissed the petition on the ground that the party filed its pre-hearing notice as a letter instead of motion.
The court held that the law did not state that pre-hearing notice must be filed as a motion, adding that while some may prefer letter, other may go for a motion.
Noting that what was paramount was that the law provides that a pre-hearing notice must be filed, which the appellants complied with accordingly.
'We have to look at the law in a holistic manner. The law did not state that the pre-hearing notice must be filed as a motion, but that it must be filed. Dismissing the appellants application because he used letter to file for a pre-hearing notice by the lower Tribunal is not acceptable to me. The matter is, therefore, resolved in favour of the appellant. The matter should be taken back for a fresh panel for retrial,' the court said.
Meanwhile, in a separate appeal filed by LP candidate, Chief Durosinmi-Etti challenging the dismissal of his petition at the election tribunal, the court held that the appeal did not have merit and dismissed it accordingly and awarded a cost of N30, 000 against the appellant.