1st June, 2012
Nnamdi Felix / Abuja
The battle for the governorship of Akwa Ibom state, in Nigeria’s south was on Friday resolved in favour of Governor Godswill Akpabio following a unanimous decision of a seven-man panel of the Supreme Court to the effect that the 180 days stipulated by the constitution for the determination of the appeal had elapsed.
The Action Congress of Nigeria’s candidate in the state’s gubernatorial election, Senator Akpanudoedehe, had approached the apex court seeking for the court to depart from its earlier position on the calculation of 180 days as provided for in section 285(6) which he claimed dealt a devastating blow on the constitutionally guaranteed right to a fair hearing.
However, in the decision of the court read by Justice Mary Peter Odili, the court declined the invitation and upheld its earlier decision in similar appeals where the court held that the computation of time for an appeal commences from the time of filing of an election appeal and refused to enlarge the time for the appeal to be entertained.
The court maintained that Akpanudoedehe’s postulation as canvassed by his lawyer, Mr. Kola Awodein, a senior advocate of Nigeria, is a beautiful academic rendition which is an abuse of the court’s process.
The positions of Chief Bayo Ojo, senior advocate of Nigeria and former Attorney General and Minister of Justice who represented Governor Akpabio and that of Chief Onyechi Ikpeazu, also a senior advocate of Nigeria, who represented the Independent National Election Commission, INEC, in their preliminary objections were upheld by the court.
Both senior lawyers had contended that there is no longer a live issue in the petition filed by Akpanudoedehe as the petition expired the moment the 180 days elapsed.
The appeal was subsequently dismissed unanimously by the 7 man panel of the court. However, no order was made as to cost