Emmanuel Onwubiko: Nwoko: Needless controversy on Delta North
The just ended election looks like it hasn't ended going by the reverberation of pre and post-election petitions and litigation that have sprang up from al
It was in line with the tenets of the constitutional norms, that a significant percentage of political office seekers who feel strongly that they were shortchanged by both their political parties (pre-election) or the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) (post-election) have decidedly proceeded to the courts of competent jurisdiction to seek redress.
His main political adversary is Mr. Peter Nwaobosi who is the incumbent Senator and both of them are of the same political family of People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
He, Prince Ned Nwoko indeed actively campaigned in and around all parts of the Delta North Senatorial Constituency. His legendary campaign activities were documented methodically by mainstream media. As a flamboyant political tactician, he was covered by leading television houses whilst he campaigned for both himself, his party (PDP) and the governor. He visited and held meetings with both the rich, the poor and the downtrodden whereby he strenuously prayed them to vote for him to work as their servant leader in the ninth session of the National Assembly.
Ned Nwoko, thus has always remained a household brand even after he temporarily left politics to concentrate on his professional career as a maritime lawyer. So last year when he signified his intentions to stage a comeback to national politics his constituents welcomed him with open hands.
Based on the unassailable evidence tendered before the judicial forum, the Federal High consequently sacked representative of Delta North Senatorial district, Peter Nwaoboshi as senator-elect, saying available evidence from Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries showed that Ned Nwoko won.
Speaking to newsmen immediately after the judgement, lead counsel to Nwoko, Barrister Onyeka Nwaokolo described the ruling as a landmark judgment. “The summary of the matter is to tell politicians that manipulation of the electoral processes was no longer in vogue because winning election through dubious mean could always be quashed except cases not properly challenged,” he said.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court had in his judgment on a pre-election suit brought by Prince Ned Nwoko, nullified Nwaoboshi’s nomination, though he won the senatorial district’s election of February 23, 2019.
According to the notice of appeal, the appellant is praying the appellate court to hold that the trial judge erred in law when he held that the suit was not caught by the 14 days rule in section 285(9) of the Fourth Alternation to the 1999 Constitution (as amended), as the primary election, subject matter of the suit, was conducted on October 2, 2018 and the 14 days’ time allowed started running on the same October 2, 2018 when the primary election took place.
The Court of Appeal in Abuja subsequently ordered Ned Nwoko to respond within six days to the two appeals filed by the incumbent senator representing Delta North Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Issues raised by Nwaoboshi in the appeal include; whether the trial court was right when it held that this suit filed on December 11, 2018, was not statute barred in the light of the 14 days allowed in Section 285 (9) of the Fourth Alteration to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
Nwaoboshi is contending that the trial court erred in law when it held that the 14 days’ time allowed by the constitution stopped running in view of Nwoko’s previous action on the subject matter before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja in Suit CV/ 3086/18, which was withdrawn and struck out on December 10, 2018.
Nwaobshi told the court that contrary to the claim of the respondent he won the PDP primary election of October 2, 2018, which was the issue complained of in the originating summons filed by Nwoko.
Nwoko’ s lawyer, Ahmed Raji, SAN, did not oppose the application but sought seven days to file his response. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP’s) lawyers, Anthony Onyere and Emmanuel Enoidem did not also oppose the application.
“The competence and diligence of a judge in the performance of his duties is as important as his independence and impartiality. This is so because poor knowledge and understanding of legal principles could lead to miscarriages of justice. Delay in the writing of judicial decisions also impinges on integrity because justice delayed is justice denied”.Read more: Daily Post Nigeria
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