Attempt by the Court of Appeal Abuja Division to hear the appeal filed by the National Assembly challenging the decision of Federal High Court on election sequence ran into a hitch yesterday as the presiding justice, Justice Abubakar Yahaya announced that a full panel will hear the appeal.
Although, the appeal was listed for hearing yesterday, Justice Yahaya said that the three man panel will not hear the appeal as the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa has decided that a full panel will decide the appeal.
He said also that his panel was not in a position to fix date for the hearing. He however advised the counsel to agreed within themselves on a convenient date for the hearing and communicate same to the court.
When the matter was mentioned, the lawyer representing the National Assembly, Joseph Daudu (SAN), said that the appeal should be granted an accelerated hearing because of the urgency involved.
He said that the matter demands to be given an accelerated hearing, even faster than it had received at the lower court because the matte is about an (Electoral Act) that will govern the 2019 general election.
He said that contrary to suggestion the matter has not been overtaken by event because the recent version of the 2018 Electoral Bill is being challenged by some members of the National Assembly.
Lawyer representing the Accord – 1st respondent , Wole Olanipekun (SAN), said that since the President of Court of has decided to constitute a full panel, the parties should wait till next legal year, stressing that it has no need for urgency .
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami (SAN) represented by G. A. Gazali and the Independent National Electoral Commission representative Femi Falana (SAN) also told the court there was urgency.
They argued that National Assembly has passed a reversed version of the electoral bill which awaiting the president’s assent.
In the appeal the National Assembly has urged the appeal court sitting in Abuja to set aside a Federal High Court judgement, which stated that it lacked the power to re-order the proposed sequence for the 2019 general elections.
In the whole the lawmakers are asking the appellate court to dismiss the claims of the plaintiff in its entirety and set aside Justice Ahmed Mohammed of Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, decision.