By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA— The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, yesterday, declined to sack Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State from office over allegation that he was illegally nominated by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to contest the April 11, 2015 governorship election.
In a unanimous judgment, three-man panel of justices of the appellate court led by Justice Tinuade Akomolafe-Wilson, struck out the appeal marked CA/A/157/2015, lodged by a chieftain of the PDP in the state, Senator Ayogu Eze.
Eze had prayed the appellate court to remove Ugwuanyi from office on the premise that he was not validly nominated by the PDP for the gubernatorial election.
However, Governor Ugwuanyi, through his lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, prayed the appellate court to dismiss the pre-election case which he said was bereft of merit.
Ugwuanyi equally filed an appeal marked CA/A/157b/2015, wherein he challenged the validity of the parallel primary election that produced Eze.
In its judgment, the appellate court held that under section 87 of the Electoral Act, Eze, lacked the locus-standi to challenge Ugwuanyi’s nomination having admitted that he did not participate in the primary that was conducted by the King Asara A. Asara led electoral panel of the PDP.
It stressed that the trial high court ought to have dismissed the case for want of jurisdiction.
“This appeal lacks merit and is hereby dismissed. There is no order as to cost. The decision of the trial court is hereby upheld. However, in view of the fact that the trial court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the case in the first place, the appeal is therefore, accordingly struck out,” the court held.