By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA— The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, yesterday, granted accelerated hearing in the disputed Delta North Senatorial seat won by Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
A three-man panel of justices of the appellate court headed by Justice Adamu Jauro, adjourned till May 22 for definite hearing of the appeal lodged before it by Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, whose election was nullified by a Federal High Court, Abuja on the ground that he was not validly nominated by the PDP.
The appellate court panel further gave the respondent, Prince Ned Nwoko, who was handed the senatorial seat by the high court, six days to respond to two separate appeals lodged against him by Nwaoboshi and PDP.
Justice Jauro also directed Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to within the same number of days, state its own position on the disputed primary election.
The orders followed an application by Nwaoboshi’s lawyer, Mr. Anthony Idigbe, SAN, who applied for the abridgment of time for hearing of the appeal.
Idigbe noted that the high court judgment being challenged was delivered on April 3, stressing that the appeal will become statute barred on June 3, when the constitutionally allowed period will expire.
The application was not opposed by Nwoko’s lawyer, Mr. Ahmed Raji, SAN, who, however, requested to be given seven days to file his client’s response to the appeal.
Likewise, INEC and PDP, which were represented by Mr. Anthony Onyere and Mr. Emmanuel Inodem, respectively, said they were not opposed to the application for abridgement of time.
Consequently, the panel gave the respondents six days to turn in their processes for commencement of hearing on the matter.