Three candidates of the Accord Party in Enugu State have filed an application before the Court of Appeal, Enugu Judicial Division seeking to compel retired Hon. Justice I.N. Buba of the Federal High Court, Enugu Judicial Division to release judgment he delivered in three pre-election matters since December 7, 2022.
The Applicants, Mrs Chinasa Nwekeke, Hon. Paschal Nnamdi Udeh and Hon. Emmanuel Ifeanyi Eze who have not been able to access the judgment of the court more than 40 days after the delivery of the judgments in three separate cases.
The court had delivered a judgement in favour of the party upholding the removal of the applicants (Paschal Udeh, Emmanuel Eze and Chinasa Nwekeke) as the candidates of the party for Enugu East Senatorial District, Nkanu East and Nkanu West Federal Constituency as well as Enugu North and Enugu South Federal Constituency respectively.
They approached the Court of Appeal on Friday seeking the following:
1. AN ORDER COMPELLING the 2nd Set of Respondent, that is, Hon. Justice I.N. Buba, Judge of the Federal High Court, Enugu Judicial Division to release forthwith the judgment he delivered on 7th December, 2022 in Suit No. FHC/EN/CS/159/2022, the subject matter of this appeal to the Appellant/Applicant and the record of proceedings of the suit, to enable the said Appellant/Applicant prosecute her appeal.
2. AND FOR SUCH ORDER OR FURTHER ORDERS as the Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.
Each of the applicants predicated their grounds for the application on the following:
1. The Honourable Justice I.N. Buba delivered judgment in this pre-election action on the 7th day of December, 2022.
2. By section 294(1), the Honourable trial court is under a mandatory obligation to furnish the Appellant/Applicant with duly authenticated copy of the judgment within seven days of the delivery thereof which in this case ought to be 12th December, 2022 latest but he failed or neglected to do so.
3. After the Honourable Judge failed and neglected to furnish the Appellant/Applicant with duly authenticated copy of the judgment within seven days of delivery thereof, he still failed and neglected to furnish the Appellant/Applicant with same within the 14 days period from the date of the delivery of the judgment (which elapsed on 20th December, 2022) allowed by section 285(11) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) to file appeal thus the Appellant/Applicant filed her Notice and Grounds of Appeal without the benefit of the judgment.
4. Within a further period of ten days of the filing of the Notice of Appeal which elapsed on 29th December, 2022 for the Registrar of the lower court to compile the record of appeal, the Honourable Judge still failed and neglected to furnish the Appellant/Applicant with the Judgment and record of proceedings to enable the seamless compilation of the record of appeal.
5. Between 7th December, 2022 and 17th January, 2023 when the record of appeal was transmitted to this Court is 42 days yet the Honourable Judge has yet to furnish the Appellant/Applicant with the judgment and record of proceedings.
6. That the failure and neglect of the Honourable Judge to furnish the Appellant/Applicant with the judgment has severely hampered the prosecution of the Appellant’s/Applicant’s appeal in which time is of great essence.
7. That the 60 days lifespan of this appeal will lapse on 17th February, 2023, in essence about half of that time has passed.
8. That this Honourable Court has the powers to grant the relief sought herein.