Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Court of Appeal, yesterday, struck out an application by members of the James Femowei-led factional National Executive Officers of the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP), seeking to be joined in an appeal challenging the judgment of the Bayesla governorship petition tribunal.
The tribunal had, in a majority judgment by two out of the three-man panel of justices, voided the outcome of the governorship election that held in the state on November 16, 2019, over the exclusion of ANDP in the contest
In a unanimous ruling, a three-man panel, led by Justice Stephen Adah, struck out the joinder application while ruling on the preliminary objection filed by ANDP counsel, Kehinde Ogunwumiju.
Adah, in his ruling, agreed with the lawyer that the application was frivolous and unnecessary.
While holding that the applicants as executive members of the party lacked the locus standi to file an application to be joined in an election petition, the court specifically held that “by the provision of sections 133 and 137 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), the applicants are not one of the persons entitled to ordered an election petition or appeal.
“There is no room for executive members of a political party to be joined in an election petition. The notice of preliminary objection is upheld as the applicants have no locus standi to bring the motion,” Adah said.
Besides, the court described the application, which was argued by their counsel, Dominic Anyiador, as an attempt to waste the time of the court in entertaining the appeal before it.
The court accordingly ordered the applicants to pay N200,000 to each of the three set of respondents.
Those who brought the ill-fated application for joinder as interested parties to the appeal were Femowei; Barnabas Nwaguma (national vice chairman); Fortune Oyadonghan (national publicity secretary); Fred Ikhaghu (national director NGO/Volunteers) and Linda Nyam (Director Admin/Records).
Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal has fixed September 23 to commence hearing in the six pending appeals before it.
Adah said the court will entertain the application filed by counsel to Governor Duoye Diri, Gordy Uche, seeking the consolidation of the six pending appeals on that date.
The tribunal had, on August 17, nullified the election of Governor Diri and his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo on the grounds that the Independent National Electoral Commission unlawfully excluded ANDP from the November 16, 2019 governorship election in the state.
Governor Diri, INEC, PDP, Ibinene Stephen, Owei Woniwei and Vijah Opuma filed the appeal.