The Abuja division of the Court of Appeal has affirmed Senator Ayogu Eze as the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) for the March 9 governorship election in Enugu State.
In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Abdul Aboki, the court upheld the appeal filed by Senator Ayogu Eze and declared him as the rightfully-nominated candidate of the party.
Accordingly, the Court of Appeal set aside the judgment of the Abuja division of the Federal High Court delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo, who had earlier ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to replace him with George Ogara as the APC governorship in the election.
Justice Aboki voided the Federal High Court decision on the grounds that the suit brought before it had become statute barred and not competent in law having been filed outside the mandatory 14 days stipulated by Section 285 (9) of the 1999 constitution, 4th alteration Act, 2017.
The Appeal Court specifically held that the suit filed by Ogara at the trial court was caught by the Fourth Alteration Act to the 1999 Constitution which as a new law makes it mandatory for all pre-election matters to be filed within 14 days of the cause of action.
In that instance, Justice Aboki held that the case was filed more than 32 clear days after the primaries which took place on October 4, thereby rendering the suit to a mere academic exercise.
Justice Aboki said that the failure of Ogara to file his suit within 14 days had offended Section 285, removed jurisdiction from the Federal High Court and made the case to be status barred.
The Appeal Court also said that “whatever right the respondent may have in his suit has been extinguished by law” and therefore has no right to benefit any longer from the case.
The Appeal Court, therefore, set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court which ordered INEC to remove and esponge Senator Ayogu Eze’s name from INEC list of candidates for the governorship election in Enugu State.