October 28, 2019

A/Ibom: APC drags Appeal Panel to NJC over ‘strange judgment’

Abia APC
All Progressive Congress

By Omeiza Ajayi

The National Working Committee NWC of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC has reported the Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar to the National Judicial Council NJC over what the party said was a “strange judgment” delivered on October 18 in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP.
APC in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu stated that “it has become pertinent to report to the National Judicial Council NJC, the antics of a Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar which delivered a strange “judgement” on October 18, 2019, recognising Senator Albert Akpan of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP as the winner of the Akwa Ibom North-East Senatorial District election”.

Also read: Kogi Guber: PDP warns commercial banks on loans to Bello

According to the APC, “the Court of Appeal’s strange ‘judgement’ was delivered in blatant disobedience of the directive of the President of the Court of Appeal (PCA), Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa who had disbanded the appeal panel and constituted a new panel eight clear days before it determined the appeal filed by the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Hon. Bassey Etim, the Party’s senatorial candidate in the 2019 National Assembly election in Akwa Ibom”.
The APC statement added that; “The party’s legal department will in due course submit a formal petition to the NJC over this travesty.
“We will not join issues with the strange ‘judgement’ because as earlier stated, the panel of justices that decided the case and delivered the strange “judgement” was disbanded by the President of the Court of Appeal before the panel began sitting.
“It is even more confounding that the members of the panel had been transferred out of the jurisdiction of this matter. We wonder why a member of a disbanded panel became so interested in a matter before another panel that it had to sit and read out a “judgement” purportedly on behalf of other members of a non-existent panel. We ask, what exactly was at stake?
“We state clearly that any judgment given without jurisdiction is illegal and a nullity.
“The Party urges the Court of Appeal to set aside the strange “judgement” and fix a new date for the hearing of the appeal de novo. In the meantime, it is important that the NJC takes decisive actions to call to order the disbanded justices of the Appeal Court sitting in Calabar. Their actions are strange, alien and dangerous to our judicial system.
“Section 246(3) of the 1999 Constitution, empowers the Court of Appeal as the final law court on National Assembly elections in Nigeria. So our contention is while the power of final decision on petitions arising from National Assembly election rests with the Court of Appeal, proceedings must be conducted by a properly constituted court with due regard for a fair hearing.
“We shall pursue the cause of justice on this matter, including filing a formal petition against the members of the panel before the NJC, to a logical conclusion”, the party added.