By Innocent Anaba & Henry Umoru
Senator-elect for Delta North senatorial district and serving senator, Peter Nwaoboshi, whose nomination as Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate to represent the senatorial district in the just concluded general elections, was nullified by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Wednesday, has asked the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja to set aside the judgment.
The lower court had ordered Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to immediately publish the name of the plaintiff, Prince Ned Nwoko, declaring him as the authentic candidate of PDP for Delta North senatorial district.
Nwaoboshi in the appeal is contending that the trial judge overreached himself by deciding the suit on the basis of highly contradicted/conflicting evidence, as the ballot papers upon which the trial judge based his judgment were seriously controverted and ballot counting was impossible without calling a witness.
According to him, the trial judge erred in law when he held that the suit was not caught by the 14 days rule in section 285(9) Fourth Alternation to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (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
That the trial judge erred in law when he held that he had jurisdiction to entertain the suit despite same being filed on December 11, 2018, because the 1st respondent had earlier filed a suit before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, which he withdrew and was struck out on December 11, 2018, as the said suit was caught by the same 14 days rule in view of section 285(9) Fourth Alteration to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) upon the filing of a preliminary objection by the appellant.
He is contending that the suit herein is not a continuation of the one before the High Court of the FCT, adding that the said suit before the High Court of the FCT was not transferred to the Federal High Court, Abuja neither was it the same as the present one.
That the learned trial judge erred in law when he granted prayers (3) and (4) in the originating summons in favour of the 1st respondent thereby replacing the 1st respondent with the appellant as winner of the primary election conducted on October 2, 2018, noting that the aspirants and their scores at the said primary election were as follow; Paul Osagie, 216; Sen. Nwaoboshi (appellant), 506; Prince Nwoko, 453; adding that the appellant clearly emerged winner with 506 votes as against the 1st respondent’s 453 votes.
According to him, rather than take and determine the said motion seeking to set aside the said order, the court took the motion along with the objection and the substantive suit by giving no room to the 3rd respondent to obey or disobey the court order.
I remain senator-elect—Nwaoboshi
Meanwhile, Nwaoboshi, yesterday, insisted that he remained a senator-elect, saying: “The beauty of Nigeria’s legal system is that we rely on precedence. What is even worrisome is that the same judge, who delivered the judgment on April 3, had ruled on a similar case that the case was filed out of time. This country must be civil, this country is not where people believe and boast that they can buy judgment.
“My party (PDP) has come to court to say that I am its candidate. I was not sacked and there was no order that said INEC should withdraw my certificate of return and it was not asked. The court does not give what you did not ask because the court is not Father Christmas.”