By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja
The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division on Thursday reserved judgment in the appeal filed by Senator Ifeanyi Ubah against the judgment of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), which ordered his removal from office as Senator representing Anambra South Senatorial District at the National Assembly.
After parties in the matter adopted their written addresses, the three man panel of Justices of the appellate court led by Justice Stephen Adah said the date for the judgment in the appeal will be communicated to them.
While adopting his written address, counsel to the Senator, Dr. Onyeachi Ikpeazu (SAN) prayed the court to allow the appeal and set aside the judgment of the lower court on the grounds that the suit was never filed as the stamp and seal of the Nigerian Bar Association alleged used in the filing of the originating summons was forged and the payment for the originating summons was paid for on September 25th 2019 months after the judgment was delivered.
While the Young Peoples Party Counsel asked the court to allow the appeal and set aside the decision of the lower court other respondents, Anani Chuka, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Dr Obinna Uzoh, through their counsel, while adopting their written addresses prayed the court to dismiss the appeal in its entirety.
Justice Bello Kawu had on January 17, 2020 affirmed his order which nullified Ubah’s election on the ground that he allegedly used a forged National Examination Council (NECO), certificate to contest the senatorial election that held in Anambra South on February 23, 2019.
The court had on April 11, 2019, ordered INEC to withdraw the certificate of return it issued to Ubah and issue a fresh one to Dr. Obinna Uzoh of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who came 2nd 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.
However, in his further affidavit in support of his motion on notice filed on March 6, 2020, Ubah is asking the Court of Appeal to set aside the judgment of Justice Kawu on the grounds that the entire proceedings and the judgment emanating there from are manifestly incompetent being a nullity.
According to him, the proceedings amounts 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 September 9, 2019, by the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Awka, Anambra State.
“That having regard to the date of payment of filing fees, suit numbered: 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”.