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Abia guber case: Gov Orji wins round 1 at Appeal Court

Posted by From JAMES OJO, Abuja on 2008/07/04 | Views: 2611 |

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Abia guber case: Gov Orji wins round 1 at Appeal Court


Abia State Governor, Chief Theodore Orji, of Abia State on Wednesday recorded a victory at the Court of Appeal in his application on his alleged non-resignation ruled in the governorís favour.

Abia State Governor, Chief Theodore Orji, of Abia State on Wednesday recorded a victory at the Court of Appeal in his application on his alleged non-resignation ruled in the governorís favour.

In a unanimous ruling prepared by Justice Ariwoola and read by Justice K. C. Ogunbiyi and agreed to by all the five members of the panel, the Appeal Court granted Governor Orjiís applications based on point of law, justice, relevance and merit.
By granting the application, the court has allowed the governor and his counsel to canvass all constitutional issues involved in the matter on whether the governor and his deputy were public servants.

Citing the sections of the constitution referring to the governor and his deputy as public servants (1999 Constitution, Section 182 1 (g and h), the court also said the issue of qualification of political candidates is not within the jurisdiction of the lower tribunal, saying it is a pre-election matter.
The lower tribunal had treated Governor Orji and his deputy as public servants expected to resign 30 days before election.

The governorís counsel had argued that the governor and his deputy were not concerned with the issue of public servants, arguing that the applications formed the bedrock of the whole case.
By the ruling, it, therefore, follows the governor and his deputy are not affected by the sections of the constitution on public office holders.

Also, the appeal court granted the motion of the PPA to amend the notice of appeal, but held that no further evidences will be allowed. The court also allowed the counsel for PPA, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), to file an amended appeal.

The court also granted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) leave to designate the body as the first appellant in the notice of appeal, as the name of the election body was omitted through typographical error.

Ohakim too...
The Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt on Wednesday dismissed the appeal of the Action Congress (AC) governorship candidate, Hon. Uche Onyeagocha, against the March 7, 2008 decision, in which the Imo State Election Petition Tribunal upheld the election of Governor Ikedi Ohakim of the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA).

Hon. Onyeagocha had, on May 26, 2007, filed a petition before the tribunal seeking to nullify the election of Governor Ohakim on, among other grounds, non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2006.

In a unanimous ruling delivered by Justice Saka Ibiyeye, leader of the panel, the court remarked that the petitioner had failed to show evidence of any substantial non-compliance with the electoral provisions and how such had affected the outcome of the election.

Justice Ibiyeye thus ruled: "I can not but agree with the decision of the tribunal because there is no iota of perversity, the judgment is found to be impeccable. There is no merit in the appeal and it is, therefore, dismissed."

Concurring, Justice C. B. Ogunbiyi said: "I completely agree with the lead judgment."
Cost of N50,000 was awarded to each of the respondents.
Meanwhile, the court proceeds on vacation and would resume in October, when hearing continues.

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