From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Court of Appeal has upheld the declaration of Mr Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere as the validly nominated candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the Ideato Federal Constituency’s House of Representatives for the 2023 election.
This was after the appellate court dismissed the appeal filed by George Igbo challenging the emergence of Ugochinyere, for grossly running foul of extant laws
Justice Rita Pemu, the presiding Justice of the Owerri division of the Court described the appeal as a waste of time and the appellant, as unserious, having deemed to have abandoned his suit until a few days to the end of the litigation window.
Meanwhile, responding to the judgment, a member of the defence team, Ibeh E. J said: “This is a pre-election matter which has a strict timeline under which it is supposed to be determined by the court.
“George Igbo had filed his notice of appeal within 14 days, but he did not compile, transmit and serve his record of appeal within 10 days as required under the practice direction for pre-election matters. Igbo did not also file his brief of argument within 7 days as prescribed by the practice direction.
“Emeka Ozoani, SAN representing Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere as the 8th respondent filed a notice of preliminary objection urging the court to decline jurisdiction to hear the appeal on the ground that it is almost deemed abandoned, it has become otiose and academic.
“So the Court of Appeal presided over by Justice Pemu, took arguments in that respect and delivered this ruling upholding the preliminary objection and striking out the appeal for not complying with the law.”
According to him, the court took due cognizance that the Court of Appeal has 60 days within which to hear and determine the appeal and that 60 days will elapse next Monday 7th of November.
The Court concluded that there is no way a diligent appellant who is serious about his appeal would have waited until a few days to the expiration of the 60 days for the court to start hearing his appeal.
Ibeh continued: “So the court ruled that the appellant, George Igbo was not diligent and was clearly not ready to pursue his appeal, and as such is deemed to have abandoned the appeal having failed to do the basic things mandatorily required of him, for a valid appeal.
“On that basis, the court declined jurisdiction and consequently struck out the appeal.”
This is the third time Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere is defeating George Igbo in the court since the end of party primaries, and the 6th time he is winning and surmounting court actions challenging his nomination, filed by state actors and non-state actors.
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