The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, on Thursday, set aside the judgment of an FCT High Court which sacked Senator Ifeanyi Ubah representing Anambra South Senatorial District in the Senate.
In the unanimous judgment of the three-member panel of justices of the appellate court read by Justice Steven Adah, the court held that the judgment of the lower Court was a nullity.
The court held that the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory lacked the territorial jurisdiction to entertain the matter in the first place.
The court agreed with Senator Ubah’s counsel, Dr. Onyeachi Ikpeazu (SAN) that the originating summons, on which April 11, 2019, of the Abuja High Court was delivered was not signed by a counsel according to law.
Justice Bello Kawu had on January 17, 2020, affirmed the order which nullified Ubah’s election on the ground that he allegedly used a forged National Examination Council (NECO) certificate to contest the senatorial election that held in Anambra South on February 23, 2019.
The court had on April 11, 2019, after sacking Ubah, ordered INEC to withdraw the certificate of return it issued to Ubah and issue a fresh one to Dr. Obinna Uzoh of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who came 2nd at the election.
Dissatisfied, Ubah approached the Court of Appeal to set aside the judgment which he insisted occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice against him.
In the appeal predicated on four grounds and filed by Ikpeazu, the Senator insisted that he was denied fair hearing by the trial court.
Ubah claimed that he was neither served with the Originating Processes nor hearing notice with respect to the suit that led to his sack from the Senate.
Besides, he argued that the Abuja court lacked the territorial jurisdiction to hear and determine a pre-election matter that arose from election held in Anambra State.
However, in his further affidavit in support of his motion on notice filed on March 6, 2020, Ubah, however, asked the Court of Appeal to set aside the judgment of Justice Kawu on the grounds that the entire proceedings and the judgment emanating there was manifestly incompetent being a nullity.
According to him, the proceedings amount to a nullity on the grounds that, “As at the time the judgment in suit No: FCT/HC/CV/3044/2018 was purportedly delivered, the suit had not been filed as filing fees had not been paid.
“That as at the date of filing of this action the appellant/ applicant had been duly elected as the Senator representing Anambra South Senatorial District and his election has been affirmed on September 9, 2019, by the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Awka, Anambra State.
“That having regard to the date of payment of filing fees, suit No: FCT/HC/CV/3044/2018 was a post-election matter and the lower court had no jurisdiction to entertain the same.
“That by the above, the suit, the entire proceedings and the judgment emanating therefrom are manifestly incompetent being a nullity.”