23rd December, 2011
Nnamdi Felix / Abuja
A five-man panel of the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja at about 4:43 pm on Friday upheld the appeal instituted by the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate at the Borno state Governorship election last April.
The court ordered for the retrial of the state’s governorship election petition by a fresh panel.
The PDP and its torch bearer at the election, Alhaji Mohammed Goni, had gone to the appeal court to challenge the judgment of the Borno State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, which upheld the election of Governor Kashim Shettima of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP.
The panel headed by Justice Mohammed Ladan Tsamiya, had in the unanimous judgment read by Justice Mojeed Owoade, dismissed the Preliminary Objections filed against the appeal by Governor Shettima, his party, the ANPP and the Independent National Election Commission and held that the appeal brought by Goni was meritorious.
Consequently, the court ordered that a fresh panel should be set up to retry the petition on its merit.
The court added that the reason for the judgment will be given at a later date.
Earlier, the governor’s lawyers led by Alhaji Yusuf Ali, a senior advocate of Nigeria, had urged the court to dismiss the appeal on grounds that it lacked merit and was also incompetent asking the court to strike out the appeal and dismiss it on two main grounds of objection, “the incompetence of the appeal and the hypothetical nature of the appeal itself.”
He argued that hearing the PDP appeal “would serve no purpose now” as the constitutionally stipulated 180 days period provided for the conclusion of election petitions had already elapsed.
On his part, counsel to the appellants, Tayo Oyetibo, also a senior advocate of Nigeria, had urged the court to overrule all the objections to the appeal on the grounds that they lacked merit and prayed the court to allow the appeal and hear the petition on its merit.