The last has certainly not been heard about the contentious 2019 Delta North Senatorial Seat legal battle between Prince Ned Nwoko and Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, as the Supreme Court has now granted Nwoko’ s prayers for accelerated hearing in his challenge of the Appeal Court ruling that affirmed incumbent Senator Peter Nwaoboshi as the substantive and duly elected Senator for Delta North Senatorial zone, in the 9th Senate of the National Assembly.
News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that a five-man panel of Supreme Court Justices led by the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria Tanko Muhammad, on Tuesday, June 2, ruled for an accelerated hearing in case the case filed by Ned Nwoko of the PDP against Peter Nwaoboshi also of PDP, praying the Apex Court to overturn the Court of Appeal judgment of April 20, 2019, which declared incumbent Mr Nwaoboshi as the duly elected senator for the Delta North Senatorial District.
Prince Ned Nwoko’s legal team led by Ahmed Raji, SAN, had immediately approached the Supreme Court to challenge the May 30, Justice Mohammed Idris Court of Appeal ruling that restored Peter Nwaoboshi as the substantive Delta North Senatorial seat winner, after an April 3, 2019 judgment by the Ahmed Mohammed Federal High Court, Abuja had quashed Nwaoboshi’s INEC declaration as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Delta North Senatorial seat and declared Ned Nwoko as the winner.
The Abuja Federal High Court panel of justices led by Justice Mohammed, had seen sufficient evidence and proof in Ned Nwoko’s claim that PDP wrongly substituted his name (Nwoko) name with that of Mr Nwaoboshi in the list of candidates submitted to INEC, after the keenly contested October 2, 2018 PDP primaries, to declare him as the winner of the exercise.
Justice Mohammed Idris of the Abuja Appeal Court who delivered the lead judgment on behalf of the three man Appeal Court panel of justices, had held that the suit by Ned Nwoko was statute barred having been filed long after the 14 days mandatory period stipulated by law for election petitions and that both Justice Ahmed Mohammed and the Abuja Federal High Court, had no jurisdiction to hear the matter and subsequently deliver the April 3 judgment in favour of Ned Nwoko, in the first place.
This latest directive of the Supreme Court for accelerated hearing on the challenge against Nwaobishi’s triumph at the Appeal Court, follows an application to that effect from Onyeka Nwokolo, Counsel to Mr. Ned Nwoko.
The legal team of incumbent Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, led by Anthony Idigbe, SAN, did not oppose the prayers for accelerated hearing, by Mr Nwoko’s lawyer but the apex court however rejected a cross appeal from Mr Idigbe for being defective.
The five man panel of Supreme Court Justices also dismissed the motion to be an interested party in the matter, filed by Doris Uboh, the APC candidate in the same 2019 Delta North Senatorial election and informed her counsel Obinna Nwosu that the ruling was based on the fact that the 14days permitted by the law to appeal a judgement had already lapsed.
The case between Prince Ned Nwoko and Senator Peter Nwaoboshi was then adjourned to July 9 for continuation.