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Appeal Court Dismisses Suit Against Nnamani’s Election

Former senator representing Enugu East senatorial zone, Gilbert Nnaji, has again lost his bid to return to the Red Chambers of the National Assembly.

The Enugu Division of the Court of Appeal Court yesterday dismissed his case for lacking in merit.

The appellate court in a unanimous decision in the appeal filed against a former governor of the state and now senator representing Enugu East, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani, came hard on Nnaji for accusing the lower court of not giving him fair hearing.

The court resolved the three issues for determination in favour 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 judgment 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 judgment on the appeal, Justice C.E Iyizoba, Justice Bolaji Yusuf and Justice Ibrahim Andenyangtso agreed with the entire decision of the lower court.The court said the suit was filed outside the 14-day period allowed by law, as the date of occurrence of event was September 15, 2018, while the suit was filed on October 8, 2018.

It upheld the decision of the trial court that the case was statute barred.Justice Iyizoba, who read the judgment, 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 court held that “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 held further.

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