The Court of Appeal, sitting in Abuja, on Thursday nullified the election of Ned Nwoko as the Senator representing Delta North Senatorial District.
The court, in its ruling, said the case instituted at the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, which culminated in the recognition of Nwoko as the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, was wrongly filed.
The appeal court said that the matter ought to have be brought at the lower court before the expiration of 14 days from the time of the incident that occasioned the suit.
Besides, it ruled that the failure of the applicant at the lower court to file the case before the expiration of 14 days showed that the case had become statute barred and the lower court lacked jurisdiction to handle the case in the first place.
In its words, “As at the time the matter was instituted at the Federal High Court, the case was statute barred. We set aside the decision of the Federal High Court and strike out the case”.
It would be recalled that INEC had withdrawn the certificate of return it issued to Nwoko’s challenger, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, following the Federal High Court decision.
With the appeal court verdict, Senator Nwaoboshi will now be recognised as the senator-elect for the district.
Also, suffice it to say that Messrs Nwoko and Nwaoboshi are both of the PDP and had contested for the ticket of the party in the primaries.
It later won the senatorial election in the district with Nwaoboshi as its candidate.
However, after the first high court ruling, INEC withdrew the certificate issued to Nwaoboshi and presented same to Nwoko, a decision that presently is invalidated given the current appeal court ruling.