The All Progressives Congress (APC) says it has become pertinent to report to the National Judicial Council (NJC), the alleged antics of a Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar which delivered what it calls a strange “judgement” on October 18, 2019, recognising Senator Albert Akpan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial District election.
“The Court of Appeal’s strange judgement was delivered in blatant disobedience of the directive of the President of the Court of Appeal (PCA), Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa who had disbanded the appeal panel and constituted a new panel eight clear days before it determined the appeal filed by the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Hon. Bassey Etim, the Party’s senatorial candidate in the 2019 National Assembly election in Akwa Ibom,” the APC said.
In a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, the APC said “the party’s legal department will in due course submit a formal petition to the NJC over this travesty.”
The statement partly reads, “We will not join issues with the strange ‘judgement’ because as earlier stated, the panel of justices that decided the case and delivered the strange ‘judgement’ was disbanded by the President of the Court of Appeal, before the panel began sitting.
“It is even more confounding that the members of the panel had been transferred out of the jurisdiction of this matter. We wonder why a member of a disbanded panel became so interested on a matter before another panel that it had to sit and read out a ‘judgement’ purportedly on behalf of other members of a non-existent panel. We ask, what exactly was at stake?
“We state clearly that any judgment given without jurisdiction is illegal and a nullity.
“The Party urges the Court of Appeal to set aside the strange ‘judgement’ and fix a new date for the hearing of the appeal de novo. In the meantime, it is important that the NJC takes decisive actions to call to order the disbanded justices of the Appeal Court sitting in Calabar. Their actions are strange, alien and dangerous to our judicial system.
“Section 246(3) of the 1999 Constitution, empowers the Court of Appeal as the final law court on National Assembly elections in Nigeria. So our contention is while the power of final decision on petitions arising from National Assembly election rests with the Court of Appeal, proceedings must be conducted by a properly constituted court with due regard for fair hearing.
“We shall pursue the cause of justice on this matter, including filing a formal petition against the members of the panel before the NJC, to logical conclusion.”