Promoting Good Governance.

Court Gives Gov Chime 15 Days To Defend Seat

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Friday gave governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu state 15 days to file his respondent brief against an appeal challenging his election as governor of the state.

The appellant, Alex Obiechina, had approached the court to challenge the Federal High Court’s decision to decline jurisdiction on his suit against the governor.

Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, who presided over the case, gave the order following Obiechina’s application for the abridgment of time to hear his appeal.

“We understand the rules of the court give the respondent 45 days within which to file his respondent brief, but sacrifice must be made to ensure accelerated hearing of the appeal,” the judge said.

The court appreciated the magnanimity shown by Anayo Offiah, counsel to the governor, in accepting to concede to a lesser period to respond to the appeal.

It further granted a motion filed by Oba Maduabuchi, counsel to the appellant, seeking the hearing of the appeal without responses from INEC.

“In the circumstance, the appellant’s application seeking the continuation of the appeal without brief from INEC is hereby granted. This is more so that INEC has not found it pertinent to file a motion seeking for extension of time to respond appropriately,” Dongban-Mensem said.

The appellant had asked the court to invoke the Court of Appeal Act to assume court of first instance and hear both the appeal and the main suit.

He is contending that the trial court was in obvious error when it held that he (the appellant) did not participate in the governorship primaries of the PDP on January 12, 2011.

Obiechina had argued that the governor became the party’s candidate in the 2011 election through fraudulent means and therefore prayed the court to reverse the trend.

Dongban-Mensem fixed December 5 to hear the appeal.

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