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Appeal Court ruling postponement unsettles Akwa Ibom PDP

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Party petitions NJC, international community, others
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom State is apprehensive over the postponement of ruling by the Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar for two consecutive days in its case with the All Progressives Congress (APC), without advancing any reason.

Its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Ini Ememobong, in a press conference at the party’s secretariat in Uyo, yesterday, noted that such development was strange in law.

The briefing was tagged ‘Appeal Court judgement on Akwa Ibom North-East Senatorial District cannot be arrested’.

His words, “Recent events at the Court of Appeal have attracted the attention of the Peoples Democratic Party in Akwa Ibom, necessitating this press conference.

“The facts are that the Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar on the appeal filed by Hon. Bassey Etim, Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Ukoette and the All Progressives Congress against the judgements of the Election Petition Tribunal delivered in favour of Senator Bassey Albert (Akwa Ibom North-East Senatorial District) and Hon. Unyime Idem (Ukanafun/Oruk Anam Federal Constituency) were adjourned till Tuesday, October 15, 2019, for judgement.

“Upon conclusion of hearing and adoption of briefs on the said date, the panel arrived the court premises but did not sit.”

He added, however, that the registrar of the court announced in the open court that judgement in all the cases on the cause list for that day would no longer be delivered, without any further explanation.

“As a party and defendant in these matters, we find this situation very awkward and therefore invite the attention of the international community, the National Judicial Council (NJC), the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and civil society groups to the existing anomaly as regards these cases.

“It is trite law that after the adoption of briefs by parties and a court adjourns for judgement, on the next adjourned date, it is obligatory for the court to deliver judgement on the matter, except where things arise that make it impossible for the judgement to be delivered.

“In such exceptional cases, all the parties must be informed of such supervening circumstances. In the instant case, there was no explanation whatsoever and there is, till date, no explanation for the inability of the court to deliver judgement on these cases,” he said.

The party explained that APC supporters’ celebration of such development, with the hope that a new panel would be set up to deliver judgement in their favour, necessitated its fears.

“We would have ignored the situation or second-guessed that there were genuine reasons for the failure to deliver the judgements, but not for the sudden celebration in the camp of the opposition APC, evident majorly on the social media accounts of APC media aides and supporters clamouring that they had caused a change in the panel to sit and hear the appeal and that the new panel was set to deliver judgement in their favour.

“We are, therefore, very suspicious of this new-found jubilant mood, which, as conveyed by the opposition APC, is predicated on their report of a new panel by the Court of Appeal whose mandate is to deliver judgement in favour of the APC.”


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