The Action Congress of Nigeria has expressed grave concern and anxiety over what it sees as a deliberate ploy to deny it right to justice and frustrate its right of appeal in the Adamawa Governorship Election Tribunal by the Court of Appeal
In a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday by its National Publicity Secretary Alhaji Lai Mohammed,the party described as curious and worrisome the fact that as of today the 19th of September, a mere three days before the appeal becomes statute barred, the Court of Appeal has neither constituted a panel nor fixed a date for the hearing of the appeal
Mindful of section 285(7) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended which says that an appeal from a decision of an Election tribunal or court shall be heard and disposed of within 60 days from the date of the delivery of the judgement of the Tribunal, the party filed and served all processes within the time stipulated by law and by the 5th of September 2012, that is 14 days ago, the Appeal was ripe for hearing. Concerned by the silence from the Court of Appeal despite this, two separate letters of reminder were addressed to the Acting President of the Court of Appeal , all to no avail, the party explained
In the opinion of the party the only logical conclusion for this bizarre conduct of the Court of Appeal in this matter is that it deliberately wants to deny the Party and its candidate the right to be heard, as it is the law now that once an election petition appeal even without any fault of the Petitioner/ Appellant cannot be heard and determined within 60 days from the date of the delivery of the Tribunal’s judgement -in this case by the 22nd of September 2012- such a petition has ceased to exist and by implication becomes statute barred.
Nerves are are already severely frayed in the country today and the Court of Appeal is advised not to use the excuse of the expiration of 60 days to deny the party and its candidate the right to justice as this will be an invitation to chaos and further erosion of the confidence of the people in the Nigerian Judiciary, which at the moment is not enjoying any rave review, the party warned.
The party therefore calls on the National Judicial Council to prevail on the Court of Appeal not to lend itself to an act of electoral injustice by the forcible imposition of a contrived time lapse on its appeal and proceed immediately to constitute a panel and fix a date for the hearing of the appeal before the expiration of the 60 days allowed by law.