Governor Gabriel Suswam yesterday prayed the Appeal Court sitting in Makurdi to strike out the appeal, which Terver Kakih filed against him. The governor said Kakih, who contested the 2011 governorship primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with him filed his appeal out of time.
When the matter came up yesterday, counsel to Governor Suswam, Jubrin Okutepa (SAN) argued that the appeal was filed after the 14 days mandatory period given for filing appeals.
He also maintained that it was on record that Kakih did not indicate any interest to raise a counter-affidavit to their application to bring additional witnesses, adding that all the issues were contained in his final written address, which he adopted before the court.
However, counsel to Kakih, Sam Kargbo said the Federal High Court in Makurdi did not give him fair hearing in his case against Suswam. Consequently, the five justices of the Appeal Court asked Kargbo to explain the consequences which led to the lower court denying him fair hearing.
Kargbo, who alleged foul play in the matter, told the appellate court that he filed a counter-affidavit opposing the application by the governor and PDP to call more witnesses but surprisingly he was never allowed to move the application while the application of the governor was granted.
“I protested and told the judge that it should be put on record that I was not heard and he said yes. The sequence was faulty. I was supposed to move my counter-affidavit before them and not for the court to grant their applications together with mine.”
Adopting his brief earlier, Kargbo urged the court to set aside the judgment of the trial court and allow the appeal to go on, insisting that the judgement had nothing to do with INEC and WAEC, saying they did not have any evidence and asked the court to expunge them from the appeal.
Kargbo, who cited the case of Governor Timpre Sylva vs. PDP contended that the fact remained that his client was an aspirant, saying he had the right to complain at the Federal High Court over the way and manner the party’s primary was conducted. He also posited that Suswam did not present any credential to contest the primary, which, according to him, was a constitutional requirement.
“It is a constitutional requirement to present certificate as enshrined in Section 177 but he did not do so.”Reacting, Okutepa said the authority of PDP and Sylva was decided by the Supreme Court, which held that the Federal High Court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit, saying the issue of nomination was a party affair. On qualification of his client, Okutepa argued that the onus lied on Kakih to present a forge certificate of the governor, which he failed to do even as the lower court had rejected form 001 which he presented for not being duly certified.
He explained that Kakih admitted during cross-examination that he did not present any document during screening.
“A man who wants to be governor did not present any credentials and he expected my client to do so. I urge the court to dismiss the appeal for lack merit,” Okutepa appealed.