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Nnaji urges tribunal to dismiss APC petition for incompetence

14 July 2015, 18:51

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 incompetence.

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,” Odo argued.

He said that the tribunal had no jurisdiction to extend time for petitioners to file applications.

Also read: Ebonyi tribunal rejects APC's request to inspect poll materials

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. 



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