THE Court of Appeal in Enugu on Friday dismissed the appeal filed by Senator Gilbert Nnaji against the candidacy of ex-governor Chimaroke Nnamani who won the last Enugu East senatorial zone election.
The Appellate Court in a unanimous decision dismissed the case for lack of merit.
Three issues for determination were resolved on behalf of Nnamani and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
Nnaji had approached a Federal High Court sitting in Enugu asking that he be declared the rightful candidate of the PDP, on the grounds that Nnamani was not allegedly present for the party’s screening before the primary elections.
However, Nnamani, through his counsel, Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu countered his claims, insisting that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit as it was statute barred.
The PDP on its part also tendered documents before the court showing that the former governor was cleared to contest the primary election.
The Federal High Court, in its judgement on April 5, agreed with Nnamani and the PDP that the suit was statute barred and consequently struck it out.
Not satisfied, Nnaji headed to the Appeal Court with three grounds of Appeal. In his appeal, he accused the trial judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba of denying him right to fair hearing.
However, delivering judgement on Friday, Justice C.E Iyizoba, JCA, Hon. Justice Bolaji Yusuf, JCA, and Hon Justice Ibrahim Andenyangtso, JCA, agreed with the entire decision of the lower court.
It said the suit was filed outside the 14-day period allowed by law, as the date of occurrence of event was 15th of September while the suit was filed on 8th of October, 2018.
It upheld the decision of the trial court that the case was statute barred.
Justice Iyizoba, who read the judgement said: “the inevitable conclusion is that the Appeal lacks merit, proof, is speculative and is hereby dismissed.”
The Court held that even considering the merits of the case, Nnaji “defaulted in his undertaking to abide by the decision of the party before the primary election. He cannot rescind from his decision.”
While also declaring that Nnaji had no footing on which to allege lack of fair hearing, the Appeal Court said: “the action of the applicant is unpardonable.”
“Having resolved all the three issues for determination in favour of the respondents, I hold that this application is lacking in merit and is hereby dismissed,” the Court stated.