The Enugu Division of the Court of Appeal has reserved judgement in an appeal brought before it by Senator Chris Ngige seeking disbandment of the Anambra State Gubernatorial Elections Tribunal on grounds of bias.
Ngige, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Anambra State gubernatorial elections held in November last year, lost after he came a distant third to the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Aliance, Willi Obiano and that of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Tony Nwoye.
Among other demands, Ngige , jointly with APC, is also asking the Court of Appeal to reverse the decision of the lower panel in refusing an application filed by him to uphold the provisions of Paragraph 12, sub-paragraph 5 of the First Scedule to the Electoral Act.
He is also seeking the appelate court’s reversal of the panel’s decision to reject the cited cases already decided by the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal in support of the extant provisions.
The section provides that all application raised in the course of hearing in an election petition shall be documented and the reply by opposing padties equally documented, while ruling shall be taken along with the hearing at the final acddress.
The tribunal had in its ruling of February 19 February made a distiction between applications and objections seeking to strike out the entire petition for incompetence, which the tribunal applied the privision, and those seeking to strike out paragraphs of the petition, which the tribhnal allowed to be argued and determined instantly.
However, two other rulings delivered on February 28, 2014 and March 5, 2014 the tribunal, while granting the application filed by Obiano, INEC and APGA struck out substantial paragraphs of the appealants petition.
The affected paragrapgs are those regarding the alleged multiple voter-registration of the APGA candidate in the disputed election, and allegations malpractices against APGA.
They also refer to those on non-joinder of ‘APGA thugs’ as a party in the petition.
The appealants are basing their appeal on what they describe as discriminatory ruling, which they said has complicated the hearing at the tribunal, leading to time losses.
They maintani that this was avoidable because decided cases of the Supreme Court and the court of appeal were cited at the hearing of the application.
The appelants, therefore, called for a disbandment and repplacement of the Tribunal, which subsequently struck out the key paragraphs of Ngige’s petition.
Ngige’s appeals are covered by two out of the six interlocutory appeals pending before the appealate court, arising from the proceedings at the tribunal.
The other four were filed by Nwoye , the PDP candidate in the electionas well as Dr. Chike Obidigbo of APGA.