Enugu - The Senator representing Enugu
East Senatorial Zone, Mr Gilbert Nnaji, has urged the Election Petitions
Tribunal, sitting in Enugu to dismiss the petition filed by the APC for
Mr Ben Nwoye of the APC is challenging the emergence of
Nnaji of the PDP as winner of the March 28 National Assembly election.
Counsel to the respondent Mr Tochukwu Odo requested the
tribunal to strike out Nwoye’s petition for having been abandoned, adding that
the application for pre- hearing was filed late.
“The petitioner’s reply to the first respondent reply was
filed two days out of time.
“The petitioner sensed that time was against him and filed a
composite reply to all the respondents which was against the Electoral Act,”
He said that the tribunal had no jurisdiction to extend time
for petitioners to file applications.
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However, in his submission, the counsel to the petitioner,
Mr A.O. Giwa, argued that the Electoral Act allowed for pleading when
accompanied with an affidavit.
He, therefore, urged the tribunal to give them time to
prepare for defence.
The Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Michael Edem,
adjourned the matter to Aug. 3 for ruling.
In another development, Mr Magnus Ozongwu of the APC through
his counsel, Mr J.C Nwobodo, urged the tribunal to ban a respondent Counsel, Mr
Ogochukwu Onyekwuluje, from appearing before it.
The plaintiff told the tribunal that Onyekwuluje had not
paid his 2015 practicing fee to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and had no
right to appear before it.
Ozongwu was challenging the declaration of the PDP
candidate, Mr Johnbull Nwagu, as the winner of Udi North State House of
Assembly election in April 11 by INEC.
In his reaction, Onyekwuluje said that he had been
practicing for over 33 years and wondered why NBA Fee would prevent him from
standing for his client.
“The fellow barrister that raised this issue was just five
years old in the profession, beside, once one is called to bar, he can stand
for anyone as the constitution provides.
“I felt embarrassed by the level of disgrace a junior
colleague meted on me,” he said.
The chairman of the tribunal adjourned the matter to July27
to enable Onyekwuluje validate his practice.