By Endurance Onun:
Over the weekend, Dr. Sandy Onor of Central Senatorial District and Hon. Itam Abang of Boki I State Constituency, both, lost their separate appeals at the Court of Appeal, Calabar.
Dr. Sandy and Hon. Itam, had, in May, 2019 challenged the competence of the Tribunal to hear the Petitions brought before it by Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba and Barr. Sabastine Anyia, respectively.
According to Dr. Sandy and Hon. Itam, both of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the respective petitions brought before the Election Tribunal Committee for National and State Assemblies by Sen. Ndoma and Barr. Anyia, both of the All Progressive Congress (APC) did not meet the requisite criteria.
The PDP candidates’ complain at the Appeal Court was chiefly on grounds that the APC candidates filed their applications (at the tribunal) for issuance of Pre-Hearing Notice for their petitions sooner than the stipulated time.
The Court of Appeal presided over by Honourable Justice Owoade dismissed the two appeals for lacking in merit, stating that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as Amended), the Electoral Act (as Amended) and indeed the Rules of Procedure of the Election Petition Tribunal do not punish a Petitioner for being overzealous in applying for Pre-Hearing Notice on or before time but is only set out to punish indolent Petitioners who abandon their Petitions by not applying within the time.
With the PDP candidates perceived not to be at home with the procedures of the tribunal, what remains to be seen is how they will handle the judgement thereof, in the event it comes against their favour.
Cross River Daily’s attempt to have Hon. Itam Abang react to the Appeal Court’s position were futile as the Boki I Assembly member said: “NO COMMENT for now”.