The Court of Appeal in Abuja, on Thursday affirmed the election of Ifeanyi Ubah of the Young Progressive Party as the representative of Anambra South Senatorial District.
Justice Bello Kawu had on January 17 nullified Ubah’s election on grounds that he allegedly used a forged National Examination Council certificate to contest the senatorial election held on February 23, 2019.
Delivering ruling, the three-man panel led by Justice Stephen Adah, held that the lower court lacked the territorial jurisdiction to hear and determine a pre-election matter that arose from election that held in Anambra State.
“The failure of the lower court to refuse the matter made the decision of the court void,” the panel held.
The panel further held that the respondents erred for not serving the applicant with the originating process.
“Justice must be done on the arms of the law, the decision of the lower court was bad because the originating summon before us was void and incompetent because it was not endorsed by a legal practitioner,” the Judges held.
The respondents are Anani Chuka, YPP, the Independent National Electoral Commission and Dr. Obinna Uzoh.
The court had on April 11, 2019 after sacking Ubah ordered INEC to withdraw the certificate of return it issued to him and issue a fresh one to Uzoh of the Peoples Democratic Party, who came second at the election.
Dissatisfied, Ubah approached the Court of Appeal to set-aside the judgement, which he insisted occasioned grave miscarriage of justice against him.
In the appeal predicated on four grounds, the senator insisted that he was denied fair hearing by the trial court, adding that he was neither served with the Originating Processes nor hearing notice with respect to the suit that led to his sack from the Senate.
Besides, he argued that the Abuja court lacked the territorial jurisdiction to hear and determine a pre-election matter that arose from election that held in Anambra State.
In his further affidavit in support of his motion on notice filed on March 6, Ubah prayed the Court of Appeal to set aside the judgment of Justice Kawu.
He said on the grounds that the entire proceedings and the judgment emanating from there were manifestly incompetent being a nullity.
According to him, the proceedings amounted to a nullity on the grounds that: “As at the time the judgment in suit numbered: FCT/HC/CV/3044/2018 was purportedly delivered, the suit had not been filed as filing fees had not been paid.
“That as at the date of filing of this action the appellant/applicant had been duly elected as the Senator representing Anambra South Senatorial District and his election has been affirmed on Sept. 9, 2019, by the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Awka, Anambra.
“That having regard to the date of payment of filing fees, suit: FCT/HC/CV/3044/2018 was a post election matter and the lower court had no jurisdiction to entertain same.
“That by the above, the suit, the entire proceedings and the judgment emanating there from are manifestly incompetent being a nullity.”