By Vivian Okejeme
The Court of Appeal yesterday, granted motion seeking abridgment of time in hearing of an appeal filled by Action Peoples Party (APP) against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
APP (Appellant) had in its Suit No. CA/ABJ/CV/218/2020 against INEC (Respondent) asked the appellate court to abridge the time in the hearing of the case because it is statute barred.
Notice of Motion seeking order of court for accelerated hearing was filed on Monday, March 30, 2020.
The matter is to be heard in 60 days. Thirty days are already gone, so if hearing is not accelerated, the court will not be able to adjudicate.
The Court granted APP’s request for five days for INEC to file its brief of argument. Hearing was adjourned till April 8, 2020.
Justice Ijeoma of the Federal High Court Abuja, had on February 21, 2020 held that INEC was right to have excluded candidates of the appellant (APP) in the governorship election in Kogi and Bayelsa States in 2019.
This judgment was hinged on the ground that APP replaced its withdrawn candidates outside the statutory period of 45 days to the date of the 2019 Kogi and Bayelsa States governorship election.
This is the first matter the Acting President of the Court of Appeal is adjudicating since her swearing-in on March 6, 2020.
The panel of three justices headed by the Acting President, Hon. Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, had charged litigants to be mindful of the Coronavirus disease and observe all protocols governing conduct of persons in the face of the pandemic as they come to court.
“In view of the perilous times, counsels should make a point of duty not to delay proceedings unnecessarily.
“No filling of frivolous applications,” said Justice Dongban-Mensem.
Excited by this, counsel to APP, Mr Obed Agu said, “I’m amazed that the president is here herself.
“That shows how duty bound she is. It shows a lot about her dexterity”, he noted.