Appeal Court Strikes Out Suit on Anambra Re-Run
The Court of Appeal Abuja division has finally stuck out a legal action which sought to stop the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from conducting the last Saturday Senatorial election into the Anambra Central Senatorial district of Anambra State.
Two motions on notice filed by Senator Annie Clement Okonkwo through his counsel Mr. Solomon Umoh, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria were dismissed by Justice Abubakar Datti Yahaya.
Although the motions filed against the INEC and six others were billed for hearing, Senator Okonkwo however made a dramatic u-turn when he informed the appellate court that he was no longer interested in the suit.
His counsel at proceeding Mr. Abel Ozioko told the 3-man appeal court justices that Okonkwo had instructed him to do away with the motions since election he sought to stop had been conducted by INEC.
The decision to withdraw the motion however sparked off anger from a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Mr. Patrick Ikwueto who asked the court to impose a heavy cost on Okonkwo for allegedly approaching the court with frivolous motions to scuttle the re-run election.
He insisted that the ultimate aim of Okonkwo was just to stop the last Saturday election and not that he has anything at stake.
He however did not object to the withdrawal of the motions.
Counsel to INEC Malam Alhassan Umar aligned himself with Ikwueto that Senator Okonkwo be admonished for his two motions.
Justice Yahaya however dismissed the motions without cost against the appellant.
Okonkwu had last Thursday prayed the appeal court to stop the last Saturday re-run election to enable him file a notice of appeal against the judgment of the court delivered on November 20 last year which ordered INEC to conduct in the run into the Anambra Central Senatorial District, without the participation of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The appeal court however refused to grant the prayers to stop the poll.
Meanwhile indication emerged yesterday that the senator-elect for Anambra Central Senatorial Seat, Chief Victor Umeh will be inaugurated today by Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
Umeh, a former National Chairman of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) was declared winner of the poll having scored highest votes in the election in which the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was barred from participating by INEC on the order of the Appeal Court.
PDP was barred from the re-run poll having fielded Mrs. Uche Ekwunife as its candidate in the 2015 election despite the fact that the purported candidate was not sponsored in line with provision of the law.
Specifically, Mrs. Ekwunife was said not to have participated in the primary election conducted by PDP National Secretariat and monitored by INEC as required by law.
Annie Okonkwo who won the primary of the National Secretariat was substituted for Mrs. Ekwunife but her candidacy was disqualified on her non participation in a lawful primary election.
Attempts by PDP to remedy the situation was abortive as the Appeal Court held that the period for primary election had lapsed, hence the party cannot field candidate in the re-run.
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