Mission Unaccomplished:Akunyili’s last words on her legal battle



The Sun Shall Rise Again

Today, the Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu declined to order the trial of the petition I filed challenging the declaration of Dr. Chris Ngige of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) as winner of the April 2011 Senatorial Election for Anambra Central.

It would be recalled that on February 21, the National Assembly Election Tribunal sitting in Awka, the Anambra State capital, threw out my case on technicality based on the previous week’s Supreme Court ruling that any case not decided within 180 days of the filing of the petition had lapsed. Unfortunately, my case happens to be one of such.

After reviewing the striking out of my case with my legal team, we had taken a decision to file an appeal against the ruling of the tribunal at the Court of Appeal. Our argument was that this issue had been raised and determined by the tribunal and the Court of Appeal, which is the final court with respect to this matter. We further argued that there was no appeal to

the Supreme Court by my opponent and that the very judgment relied on by the tribunal is clear that a subsisting decision of the court is binding on all the parties. In effect, the decision of the Court of Appeal on the issue is final and binding and cannot be revisited under any guise.

Aware that the election was rigged in his favour, Dr. Ngige did everything humanly possible to ensure that my petition would not be heard. His legal team employed delay tactics, using one crafty argument after another to frustrate the hearing of my case. Five times we went on appeal and five times we won, sometimes with fines against Dr. Ngige.

Hearing into my case finally started following the Appeal Court’s order that my petition must be heard on merit and not thrown out on technical grounds against the spirit of the 2010 Electoral Act. My witnesses and I had finished our submissions and Dr. Ngige was to start his defence when the Supreme Court ruling on 180 days came to his rescue. Dr. Ngige must be relieved because he is aware that he did not win the election. If he won the election, why was he desperate to ensure that my petition should not be heard?

Having done everything within our power to get justice, we must at this point accept the reality that our case will never be heard. It is a sad day for justice in our country because technicality has triumphed over merit.

I intend to move on with my life and leave things in the hands of Almighty God. I most sincerely thank my family, my Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, friends, associates, numerous supporters and my legal team for standing by me all the way. We must take heart. We have not lost the case but have only been prevented from proving our case.

We must not despair but must remain steadfast, confident that after the rain comes sunshine. The sun of my political career will surely rise again at God’s own due time.

Thanks and God bless you all.

Prof. Dora Akunyili,OFR

Former Minister of Information & Communications

APGA Senatorial Candidate for Anambra Central

 

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