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Anambra Senatorial rerun: Ekwunife knows fate March 3

The Court of Appeal, Enugu will on March 3 decide whether or not it will reverse its judgment which nullified election of Senator Uche Ekwunife (PDP-Anambra Central).

The court had in the judgment delivered on December 7, 2015, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct rerun election in the Senatorial zone within 90 days.

The panel of Justices presided over by Justice Morenikeji Ogunwumiju adjourned for judgment after conclusion of hearing in an application filed by Ekwunife.

NAN recalls that Ekwunife had requested the court to set aside its Judgment which nullified her election as senator.

Her lawyer, Dr. Alex Iziyon (SAN) had contended that the court had the jurisdiction to review its decision, if parties involved were not satisfied.

Specifically, he said that his client’s election was nullified based on her nomination and sponsorship by the party.

He cited a recent judgment of the Supreme Court which held that emergence of party candidates at the primaries was `purely a party affair’ that court cannot interfere with.

“In the Taraba primaries involving the APC governorship candidate, Hajia Aisha Alhassan, the Supreme Court ruled that she lacked the locus standi to question the nomination of the PDP candidate, Governor Darius Ishaku.

“This case is not different from that of my client, so I urge the court to grant our request,” he said.

Iziyon also prayed the court not to strike out his client’s application on the premise that the six days time limit to file such had elapsed.

He pointed out that the issues before the court, was not an election matter but a pre-election matter.

Mr Patrick Ikwueto (SAN) the lawyer to Chief Victor Umeh, the candidate of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) in the election, however, opposed the application.

Ikwueto argued that the application was an abuse of court process as the panel could not seat as appellate court to review its decision.

Ikwueto said that the election of the applicant was nullified based on pre-election issues.

He therefore urged the court not to entertain the request.

INEC counsel, Mr. Suleiman Ibrahim also urged the court to strike out the application as the six days expiration of such petition had elapsed.

Ibrahim argued that the Appeal Court had no jurisdiction to entertain a petition filed against its decisions, after the expiration of the 6 days time limit.

NAN reports that the rerun election in the senatorial zone has been fixed for March 5, by INEC.

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