The Appeal Court sitting in Enugu this afternoon ordered a retrial of the petition filed by Professor Dora Akunyili of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, challenging the victory of Dr. Chris Ngige of the Action Congress of Nigeria ACN in the Anambra Central Senatorial election.

Prof. Dora Akunyili

The Anambra State Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Awka, had earlier dismissed the APGA candidate’s petition and declared Ngige the winner of the election.

The Anambra senatorial election which was held in April was declared inconclusive by INEC because the retuning officer disappeared only to appear three days later and declared Ngige as the winner of the election.

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Following the stalemate, INEC ordered a rerun in three local government areas of the state.

Ngige was also declared the winner but Akunyili protested and went to the election petition tribunal to challenge Ngige’s victory.

The tribunal struck out her application on 20 October and upheld the decision of INEC to declare Ngige winner.

The tribunal threw out Akunyili’s application because she failed to file some vital documents before the tribunal.

Before today’s decision by the Appeal Court, counsel to the parties had adopted their written addresses on Monday.

In his address, Ngige’s counsel, Emeka Ngige asked the court to ignore the appeal for lack of merit. The appeal, he argued, was not filed within the given time frame. Ngige also told the court that supplementary records relating to the appeal were transmitted to the court last Friday as granted by it.

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He prayed the court to adjourn the appeal on the ground that some vital information contained in the proceedings of 13 October of the tribunal were incomplete. The counsel stressed that continuing with the application filed by the appelant without comprehensive documents of the lower tribunal may not give his client a fair hearing. He urged the court to give him 24 hours to enable him provide some of the documents missing in the records of the tribunal.

Akunyili’s counsel, Obiorah Bianwu, however, opposed the application for adjournment, insisting that the missing documents do not justify an adjournment of the appeal as being canvassed by the first respondent.