Appeal Court fixes October 28 to hear petition against Ekweremadu’s election

The Court of Appeal in Enugu State on Friday, fixed October 28, to hear a suit against former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that the petition was filed by Mrs Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu of the All Progressives Congress in the February 23 senatorial election for Enugu West District.

The Independent National Electoral Commission had declared Ekweremadu of the Peoples Democratic Party, the winner of the contest.

The State and National Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal in Enugu had on September 9, 2019 while delivering judgment in a petition by Ibekaku-Nwagwu affirmed Ekweremadu’s victory.

Ibekaku-Nwagwu approached the appellate court over alleged miscarriage of justice by the tribunal.

At the resumed hearing on Friday, counsel to the PDP, Mr A.A. Ani, SAN, told the panel that they had a preliminary objection to the appeal.

Ani urged the panel to strike out the grounds and issues mentioned on certain pages of the appeal.

The counsel, however, told the panel that there was an enrolled order of the previous panel handling the matter to hear the case on October 28.

Ani said that they were surprised when the got text messages on October 24, informing them that the hearing would be on October 25.

However, counsel to the appellant, Mr K. Luke, while corroborating the submission of Ani, said that the appeal was not yet ripe for hearing.

Luke said that the briefs of the respondents including the preliminary objection were served on them on October 24.

The counsel said that they needed to be given time to file their written reply.

The Chairman of the panel, Justice I. M. Saluwa, who had insisted on going ahead with the matter after consulting with members of the panel adjourned until October 28.

Saluwa urged parties in the matter to file all their briefs incorporating their arguments.

The justice said that the panel was a visiting one and had the authority to abridge the time for hearing under Order 10 Rule 1 of the court.

Saluwa said that they would be proceeding to other divisions including Calabar and Adamawa to hear appeals emanating from the 2019 general elections.