Simeon Omovroh writes from Abuja
–The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, presided over by Justice Ahmed Mohammed on Wednesday, directed Senator Peter Nwaoboshi and Ned Nwoko to the Appeal Court to ventilate their matter.
The trial Judge ordered all the parties to go before the appellate and ventilate their case, stressing that record of proceedings in the matter had already been compiled and transmitted to the higher court.
Justice Mohammed held that the embattled lawmaker was at liberty to persuade the Court of Appeal to stay execution of the judgment against him.
Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, who was re-elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to represent Delta North Senatorial District, had through his lawyer, Mr. Selekowei Larry, SAN, approached the high court, praying it to suspend the execution of its judgment that ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to recognize Prince Ned Nwoko as the authentic candidate of the PDP for the Senatorial District.
He urged the court to order all the parties to hold on, pending the determination of an appeal he lodged before the Court of Appeal in Abuja.
It was on this premise that the judge ordered the both parties to argue their case at the appeal court. Stressing that the appeal filed by Senator Nwaoboshi at the appeal court challenging his earlier judgement in Favour of Ned Nwoko in this matter can only be entertain by the appellate court.
It will be recalled that Senator Peter Nwaoboshi appealed the judgement following that Justice Abubakar erred in his judgement where he held that the suit was not caught by the fourteen days rule in section 285(9) Fourth Alteration to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). He also erred in law when he held that he had jurisdiction to entertain the suit despite same being filled on December 11, 2018 where Ned Nwoko had earlier filed a suit before the FCT High Court in Abuja but withdrew it as it was struck out on December 10, 2018 on the basis of the same fourteen days rule upon the filling of a preliminary objection by Senator Nwaoboshi.
Another error was invoking section 167(d) of the Evidence Act, 2011 in view of its exparte order of December 18, 2018 where he ordered the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to produce the ballot papers used for the primary election of October 2, 2018 for counting without consideration for the Appelants motion of January 24, 2019, seeking to set aside the order as being a nullity. Justice Abubakar had in his judgement, deviated from the very essence of the proceeding by way of originating summons by proceedings to make his decision by way of Writ of Summons and Statement of Claim to seek to or purport to count ballot papers. Granting the prayers of Ned Nwoko as winner of the primary election conducted on October, 2, 2018 was an error of the law.