Minister of Labour and Productivity,
Hon. Simon Bako Lalong

By Shittu Bamaiyi

The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Simon Lalong says the Appeal filed by INEC in respect of his victory at the National Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal is out of time.

Lalong, through his lawyer Sunday Obende, during the adoption of his respondent's brief at the Court of Appeal yesterday, pointed out that the Appeal is incompetent because according to him, there was no valid brief of argument filed by INEC

He argued that INEC had filed the brief of argument nine days after the Record of Appeal was served on the Appellant.

Obende, also drew the attention of the Court to ground one of the petitions, which challenged the qualification of AVM Napoleon Bali to have contested the Senatorial election.

The respondent's lawyer contended that the appellant was not sponsored by the PDP or any political party as provided for by Section 65(2) of the Electoral Act, 2022.

He maintained that the Court of Appeal in 2022, had already decided that PDP does not have the legal capacity to sponsor any candidate in elections until it complied with the decision of the Jos High Court in the case of Bitrus Kaze and the party.

Obende submitted that the attempt by  INEC to show that PDP complied with the order of the Jos High Court has failed because the Court of Appeal in 2022 had held, that PDP was yet to comply with that order.

The respondent's counsel added that no witness testified as the maker of the report tendered by INEC, thereby rendering it of no probative value.

INEC 's lawyer, Abdulsalam Yunus, had urged the Court of Appeal to set aside the judgment of the tribunal.

Yunus argued that the tribunal had no jurisdiction to determine issues of nomination and sponsorship of PDP as well as its candidate.

After the adoption of the briefs, the Court reserved a date for judgment which is to be committed to the parties.

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