Rt. Hon. Simon Lalong, the minister of labour and employment, claims that the INEC appeal about his victory at the National Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal was submitted too late.
During the adoption of his respondent’s brief before the Court of Appeal yesterday, Lalong, represented by his attorney Sunday Obende, argued that the Appeal is incompetent since, in his view, INEC did not file a proper brief of argument.
He maintained that the Record of Appeal was served to the appellant nine days after INEC filed the argument brief.
Obende also called the court’s attention to a ground one petition that questioned AVM Napoleon Bali‘s eligibility to run in the Senate election.
The appellant was not sponsored by the PDP or any other political party, according to the respondent’s attorney, as stipulated by Section 65(2) of the Electoral Act, 2022.
He insisted that the PDP was not legally allowed to support any candidate in elections until it conformed with the ruling made by the Jos High Court in the Bitrus Kaze and the party case, as determined by the Court of Appeal in 2022.
Obende stated that INEC’s attempt to demonstrate that PDP had complied with the Jos High Court’s decision had failed since the Court of Appeal had determined in 2022 that PDP had not yet done so.
The respondent’s attorney continued, saying that the report submitted by INEC had no probative value because no witness had testified in its place.
Abdulsalam Yunus, the attorney for INEC, had pleaded with the Court of Appeal to overturn the tribunal’s decision.
Yunus contended that the tribunal lacked the authority to decide on matters pertaining to PDP nomination and sponsorship, as well as its candidate. Following the approval of the briefs, the Court set aside a date for a ruling that would be sent to the parties.