By Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRI—The Special Court of Appeal Panel constituted by the President of the Court of Appeal, to hear and dispense all pre-election appeals in the Court of Appeal, Owerri Division, has ordered the Federal High Court, Owerri, to continue to hear the matter instituted by Senator Sam Daddy Anyanwu, against Chief Emeka Ihedioha, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on grounds of alleged constitutional breaches and limitation.
Mr Ken Njemanze, SAN, on behalf of the PDP standard governorship flagbearer, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, filed the appeal against the ruling of the Federal High Court, Owerri, not to hear the preliminary objection he brought challenging the jurisdiction of the Court to continue to hear the matter brought by Anyanwu against Ihedioha, PDP and INEC.
After taking the arguments of counsel on all sides, the Judges ruled that “continuing to hear the appeal on the preliminary objection alone, would hinder the lower Court from hearing and determining the suit brought by Senator Samuel Anyanwu within the 180 days as provided by Section 285 (10) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Fourth Alteration), Act No. 21, 2017.”
The Justices were also of the view that should they continue with the hearing of the appeal brought by Njemanze, it would further deplete the 88 days remaining for the trial and determination of the suit filed by Anyanwu at the Federal High Court.
The Court therefore directed that “the preliminary objections and any other appeal arising therefrom, should wait and be taken along with the final judgment in the substantive suit, so that all appeals can be appropriately brought and determined by the Court of Appeal at once.”
The Panel of the Justices noted that “this appeal filed by Ken Njemanze, SAN, had led to the case at the Federal High Court, Owerri, being adjourned sine die”. The Appeal Court therefore, directed that hearing should continue and all objections be taken along with the substantive suit at the Federal High Court.