14th July, 2011
The Court of Appeal in Enugu has struck out a petition by Senator Chris Ngige of ACN challenging the decision of the Anambra State Election Tribunal which had declared Gov Peter Obi of APGA as winner of the 2010 election.
The Presiding Judge of the five-man panel, Justice Abdulkadir Jega, in three separate judgments, on Wednesday, described the petition by Ngige as a â€œmere academic exerciseâ€.
The panel also described the appeal as â€œincompetent and unmeritoriousâ€.
The panel noted the tribunal in Anambra had since disqualified itself from further hearing the matter, following an alleged bias against it by the petitioner.
Dismissing the petition, the panel ordered that the case be started afresh in another tribunal as it had earlier ordered on 22, February.
It said the new tribunal would not abide by decisions of an earlier one, whose actions had abated when it disqualified itself from the matter.
The panel also dismissed appeals by the appellant against the refusal of the earlier tribunal to allow them to introduce fresh witnesses. Jega, however, frowned at unnecessary litigations by counsel, thereby increasing the cost and appealed to counsels to reduce cost of litigation on their clients.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Appeal Court Enugu had on 22, February,ordered the re-constitution of a fresh panel to hear the petition.
Meanwhile, in a unanimous ruling, the appellate court dismissed an appeal filed by Obi against the decision of the former tribunal under Justice Pius Damulak, disqualifying its members from adjudicating on the petition.
The presiding judge, Justice Amina Augie, noted that members of the tribunal did not step aside because the respondent (Ngige) had said that they should disqualify themselves.
Augie observed that the petitioners had stated copiously that they lost confidence in the tribunal and the trial judges.
She said: â€œJustice is rooted in confidenceâ€ and that the tribunalâ€™s motivation for stepping aside could not be faulted in any way.