17 January 2013

Nigeria: Appeal Court Delays Judgment in Kogi Election Dispute

For the second time, the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has failed to deliver judgment in an appeal filed by a governor ship aspirant in Kogi State, Jibrin Isah challenging the decision of a Federal High Court in Abuja which refused his claim to be declared the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the state.

Legal battle seems not to be over for Governor Idris Wada of Kogi State as the Court of Appeal will this morning commence hearing in the suit filed by the winner of the primary.

When the matter was called Wednesday, the justices who sat, said they did not participate in the hearing of the appeal and that they could not deliver the judgment.

Similar excuse was given last December when the judgment was billed to be delivered.

The court said it would communicate a new date when the judgment would be delivered to the lawyers.

The appeal court had earlier granted an order of accelerated hearing in the suit and had concluded hearing on the appeal within time.

Isah had approached the high court to challenge the election that brought in Kogi State Governor, Idris Wada on the grounds that the primary election won by him should have been used to determine the PDP's candidate in Kogi.

It will be recalled that Isah won the January 2011 primary conducted by PDP in the state.

However, the party jettisoned that primary and conducted a fresh one which was won by Wada.

The high court with Justice Abdul Kafarati presiding, had in a judgment in the suit dismissed Isah's suit on the grounds that it was a post election matter and same should have been directed to the state governorship election petition tribunal.

The trial judge also said that Isah's did not have locus standi to institute the suit in the first instance.

Not satisfied with the court's decision, Isah had through his counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) approached the appeal court praying it to set aside the high court judgment.

Olanipekun hinged his prayer on the grounds that the court did not consider any of the fundamental, constitutional and jurisprudential issues submitted to it for adjudication.

He further asked the appellate court to decide whether the lower court did not totally misapprehend Isah's case.

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