How Dr Alex Otti Defeated Dr Okezie Ikpeazu Today At Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri, the Imo State capital today struck out an appeal brought by Wole Olanipeku SAN on behalf of Dr. Victor Okezie Ikpeazu against Dr. Alex Otti. 

The appeal arose from the ruling of the Abia State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia Coram; Hon. Justice U. B. Bwala (Chairman) Hon. Justice E. A. Ebienyie and Hon. Justice O. I. Ogunyemi, delivered on 24th July, 2015 in which the tribunal held thus;

“The Tribunal in respect of these motions moved today by the Petition (sic) filed 16/07/2015, 29/06/2015. The 1st Respondents motion moved on 24-7-2015. The motions were filed 18-07-2015, 25-06-2015 and 30-06-2015.

In respect of motions of the 2nd Respondent moved 24-7-2015. These motions were filed 01-07-2015 and 09-07-2015.

In respect of 3rd Respondent Motions moved on 24/7/2015, the ones filed on 01-07-2015, 01-7-7-2015. All these motions will be taken together with our judgment. Some of the motions are word for word with preliminary objection raised in 1st, 2nd, 3rd Respondents replies to the petition and petitioners replies to the respondents replies served on him.

Since the above motion will be part of our judgment, Petitioners motion dated 6/7/2015 has been impliedly granted.

In his address while adopting his Brief of Argument before the Court of Appeal on Friday, 21st August 2015, Wole Olanipekun SAN, insisted that the right to fair hearing of his client, Okezie Victor Ikpeazu had been breached as a result of the inability of the trail Tribunal to deliver its ruling of their application but preferred to take all preliminary objection along with the substantive petition. He further argued that no court has the powers, inherent or otherwise to reserve a ruling indefinitely and consequently submitted that by failing and/or refusing to rule on their application, the lower Tribunal had breached the appellants’ right to fair hearing. He therefore, urged the Appeal Court to allow the appeal by granting their reliefs in the notice of appeal.

On his own part, the counsel to Dr. Alex Otti at the hearing, Nwala Chukwudi Oracle Esq., while adopting his brief of Argument of the 1st and 2nd Respondents emphasized that paragraph 12 (5) of the 1st Schedule to the Electoral Act is sacrosanct and that the tribunal has jurisdiction pursuant to paragraph 12(5) of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act, 2010 as amended to determine the preliminary objections of the appellant along with the main petition. He insisted that there is no issue of fair hearing involved in this case because the appellant was heard on his motion. He concluded that the appeal is premature, pre-emptive, frivolous and mere academic exercise and should be dismissed as such.

In its ruling today, the appeal court, while upholding the argument of Nwala Oracle Esq for the 1st and 2nd Respondents agreed on the sanctity of Paragraph 12 (5) of the 1st Schedule to the Electoral Act and consequently dismissed the Appeal. It further affirmed that the lower Tribunal is to give ruling on all the motions filed before it including those of the petitioner. Meanwhile, the PDP filed another two Appeals against the petitioner which were also taken today by Paul Ananaba SAN for the Appellant and Rickey Tarfa SAN for the 1st and 2nd Respondent. The Court of Appeal has reserved the Judgments on the two appeals

Source: Abia Facts Newspaper