Captain Idris Wada (rtd) on Monday survived the bid by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and its candidate, Alhaji Abubakar Audu, to unseat him as the governor of Kogi State.?

Audu and ACN were challenging Wada?s election as governor of the state in the December 2011 governorship election, which the Election Petition Tribunal earlier upheld on 12th July.

But the full panel of the apex court, headed Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Muhktar, unanimously threw the suit out based on failure of the applicants to file the appeal within the stipulated time of 14 days after the earlier judgement.

Counsel to Audu, Charles Edomsomwan (SAN) had prayed the court to permit the appeal, admitting that filing it outside the stipulated time was his error. He claimed to have erroneously thought he had 21 days instead of the 14 days provided for, and urged the court to exercise its discretion in a manner that would not affect hearing the merit of the appeal.

However, counsel to PDP, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) tendered a counter affidavit opposing the application for extension of time, reminding the court that it lacked the jurisdiction to hear it in the first place, as provided for by Section 285 (7) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

Similarly, counsel to Wada and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Chris Uche (SAN) and Yusuf Ali (SAN) respectively, prayed the court to dismiss the appeal for being incompetent.

In a brief ruling delivered by Justice Mahammed Mahmud, the Supreme Court considered the provision of the Practice Directions 2011 to determine the fate of the applicants, and concluded that it lacked the power to extend time for appeal of an election matter.

It further held that Section 285 (7) of the 1999 Constitution as amended and paragraph 1 of the Practice Directions are statutes of limitation that must be observed as such.

?The court has no jurisdiction to extend the time for filing of an appeal. Granting the application will be contrary to the Practice Direction,? he said.?

?Even if the application brought by the applicant is competent, the applicant has not known a cogent reason for filing his application out of time and that is fatal to his application.

?The applicant does not satisfy the criteria to grant such application even it is competent. The affidavit of the applicant did not show any good reason why the appeal must be heard, the requirements of the law are not satisfied so the applicant has failed. The application is hereby refused. Consequently, there is no appeal before this court. The application has no merit.?

Reacting to the ruling, an elated Governor Wada described it as a victory for democracy.?

?We have always expressed our confidence in the rule of law, and this is another one,? he said.

?I must express my gratitude to the good people of Kogi State for believing in us all this while that the legal battle has lasted. This victory is for all lovers of democracy and I call on all our opponents to join us in building our state together. The state is bigger than any one of us and the progress of the state should be of concern to all of us. This victory is simply a tonic for me to strive to put smiles on the faces of our people in Kogi State by realising my transformation agenda.?

The Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal had earlier upheld the victory of Captain Idris Wada in the election held on 3rd December 2011, prompting the ACN and its candidate, Abubakar Audu, to approach the Court of Appeal, Abuja division.?

With the court upholding the election 12th July, the applicants made for the apex court, but failed to file their appeal within 14 days after the judgement of the Court of Appeal, as provided for by the Electoral Act.

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