The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Friday, dismissed an appeal by the former minister of state for education, Hon. Emeka Nwajuiba against presidential candidate and national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
It was intended to knock out the presidential bid of Tinubu on the eve of election but the appellate court threw the case out and awarded N3 Million against Nwajiuba for wasting judicial time and resources.
The ex – minister had prayed the court to compel the Federal High Court, having previously dismissed his suit against the Tinubu for lacking merit and out of its jurisdiction, to hear and determine the substance of the suit.
In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1114/2022, and filed before the federal hight court in Abuja, he prayed the court to disqualify Tinubu from the presidential race on various unsubstantiated grounds.
The case was, however, thrown out by the court on the basis that the suit is statute-barred and premature by virtue of the provisions of section 90(4) of the Electoral Act.
Discontented by the decision, Nwajuba challenged the decision by approaching the appeal court but it was eventually thrown out on the same basis cited by the High Court.
Counsel to APC, Mr. Babatunde OGALA, SAN filed Respondent brief against the Appeal and it was heard by a 3-man Panel of the Court of Appeal on the 15th February, 2023 and judgment was reserved. Ogala urged the court to dismiss the Appeal and award punitive cost against the Nwajiuba as his Appeal constituted a waste of judicial time and resources.
In a considered judgment, delivered on the 24th day of February 2023, the Court of Appeal dismissed the Appeal and affirmed the decision of the trial Court as follows, “The Lower court rightly held that it lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit as the suit was filed outside the statutorily mandated and allowed period of 14 days.”
The court noted that, “Appeals are by way of rehearing and the lower court having being robbed of jurisdiction, the court of Appeal lacks the jurisdiction to adjudicate.
“The Appeal is dismissed as the court of appeal lacks the jurisdiction to entertain same, the suit at the lower court having been filed outside the 14 days of the occurrence of the event, action or decision complained of.”
The court added that Nwajuiba’s persuasion that it should overturn the Supreme Court as stated in Okechuckwu v INEC will not succeed due to its status as an intermediary court. It stressed that the decision is binding on even the Supreme Court until set aside, more so when same was delivered by the current CJN.
The court awarded one million Naira as awarded against Nwajiuba in favour of the respondents each.
– Liberation news