Geoffrey Anyanwu, Enugu
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the Enugu division of the Federal Court of Appeal to set aside its judgment sacking the Hon. Ayika Valentine as House of Representatives member representing Njikoka/Dunukofia/Anaocha federal constituency of Anambra State.
The Court of Appeal had on November 1, 2019, delivered judgment on Appeal No: CA/E/EAPP/19/2019 brought by the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate, Hon. Ferdinand Dozie Nwankwo, in which it ruled in favour of the appellant and sacked Ayika.
But the PDP, approaching the same court, is urging it set aside its judgment because, according to the party, the judgment of the Supreme Court on the candidacy of Ayika had made it a nullity.
The legal battle that culminated into the appeal commenced on October 18, 2018, when Dr Richard Egenti, an aspirant in the primary election that brought about the nomination of Hon. Ayika as the candidate of the PDP for the 2019 general election, initiated an action at the FCT high court in Suit No: FCT/HC/CV/3065/18, wherein he challenged the candidacy of Hon. Ayika.
The FCT high court on October 31, 2018, gave judgment in favour of the plaintiff and the matter went to the Court of Appeal in Appeal No: CA/A/1041/2018 between the PDP and Dr Richard Egenti and another; and on January 17, 2019, the Court of Appeal upheld the judgment of the FCT high court.
Unrelenting, the PDP went to the Supreme Court in Appeal No: SC 1330/2018 on January 19, 2019; and the apex court gave its judgment on February 11, 2019, wherein it declared Suit No: FCT/HC/CV/3065/18, incompetent and a nullity since it was statute-barred, having been filed outside the 14 days allowed by section 285(9) of the Constitution; accordingly, the trial court lacked the requisite jurisdiction to have entertained the matter in the first place.
With the order of the FCT high court having been nullified and the entire suit struck out, the Supreme Court also struck out the ensuing appeal on the ground that there was no judgment to appeal against, in the words of the judges, “You cannot add something unto nothing.”
Meanwhile, a legal luminary told Daily Sun that the simple meaning of the Supreme Court judgment was that everything about the matter on the candidacy of Hon. Ayika in the questioned election was settled forever, making reference to section 235 of the Constitution.