Supporters of the Former Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri yesterday kicked against the Saturday ruling of the Appeal Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State which dismissed his appeal against the emergence of the Bayelsa State Governor-elect, Chief David Lyon as the candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the September 4th primary of the party in the state.
The Sen. Lokpobiri supporters within the APC declared that they backed his decision to seek redress at the Supreme Court following the alleged faulty ruling of the Court of Appeal which affirmed the Governor-Elect of Bayelsa State, Chief David Lyon as the validly elected governorship flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the November 16th gubernatorial election.
Reacting to the Appeal Court ruling on behalf of the Sen. Lokpobiri supporters within the Bayelsa APC, Hon. Sunday Frank-Oputu, described the ruling as unfortunate and the grounds of striking out the case at the appeal court based on out of time status, “it is extravagant and has no legal basisi.”
Okputu said the decision to head to the Supreme Court is to determine if it is really out of time as claimed by the Appeal Court judges. The Lower court had giving ruling on the application filed by the respondents on the issue of out of time. On the court record, the case was filed on the 17th of September and the primary election of the APC was held on the 4th of September. And the laws of the land including the electoral Act had given every applicant 14 days to appeal.”
“The same electoral act also stipulate that the real date of cause of action should be the day the party forward the name of candidate to INEC. Not even the date the election was conducted. And with party mechanism, there is a saying that you must allow internal processes to go through. Meaning, you go for appeal and these are results you must present to form evidences for you at the court of first instance to proof your case’
“But they said the electoral act stated that the day the name was sent to INEC was the day of first of action and that the 14 days count from there. Now, if you count from that day, meaning that on the 17th, we picked the time so far. But if you count from day of the election conducted, on the 17th,we are still within time and law. So, you cannot come up to say the matter is a statue barred matter and cannot deal with relief sought.”
“In the preliminary submission given, the Appeal Court judges had granted all relief sought that they were sought under the law. And now to do the needful, they claimed because the matter is statue barred, they cannot grant the last sought and that the case has merit. They nullified the lower court ruling. If there had been no appeal, would they have nullified anything? They have failed to do the needful and have taken sides with political interest.”
“For us, Sen. Lokpobiri was the rightful winner of the APC primaries and would be declared winner by the Supreme Court. And such he will be declared winner at the Supreme Court. Everyone should remain calm. Sen. Lokpobiri will be declared winner. We are sure of victory and we will not be deterred by these charade of misplaced rulings.”
“At the lower court, they confirm that there was error in the filing by officials of the court. The receipts and every documents showed that the case was filed on the 17th and not 18th. David Lyon cannot claim to have won the primary. No court of law can declare David Lyon candidate. At least, we have the Supreme Court to determine the issue of statute barred. We are backing Sen. Lokpobiri for Supreme Court. The only issue is out of time. We have all evidences to proof that the suit was filed on time. The Judge of the Federal High Court had ruled and apologies for the error caused by court officials”.
It would be recalled that the presiding judges of the Court of Appeal, Justices I.O.Akeju, C.J.Jombo-Ofo and A.M.Lamido, had submitted that the appeal filed by the Governor-elect, David Lyon against the November 14th ruling of the Federal High Court presided over by Justice Jane Iyang on issue of non-validity of the party primary in Yenagoa, is upheld as the lower Court lacks jurisdiction.
According to the Court of Appeal, in suit numbered CA/ PH/575/2019,allowed the David Lyon Appeal and the judgment of the lower court was struck out for lack of jurisdiction. And that the matter was statute barred.
On the second ruling on Senator Lokpobiri appeal, the Justices of the court in suit CA/ PH/ 585/2019, 3., said the respondent (Lokpobiri) though has a right of audience before the court and the the undertaking is inconsequential but since the sister case just delivered was struck out for the reasons given above, this one goes the same way.
In CA/PH/586/2019, the Court stated that the appellant appeal was allowed because the court erred in granting a consequential order not sort by the parties. The court acted ultra viras its powers,”The cause of action ought to commence within 14 days which start counting from the date of the primaries which is 4/9/2019 and lapsed on the 17/9/2019, and not a later date. As in the instant case which commenced on the 18/9/2019, hence it was filed or commenced out of time. As such it has become statute barred. The court therefore lack jurisdiction”.