The Court of Appeal in Abuja has fixed January 15 for hearing of the appeal filed by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) challenging the sacking of former governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, as its presidential candidate.
An FCT High Court in Maitama, on December 14, sacked Duke and declared a former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, as the winner of the presidential primary election of the party conducted on Oct. 6.
Not satisfied with the high court judgement, the party and Duke approached the appellate court through their lawyer, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), for an upturn of the judgement.
When the matter was called by the court, yesterday, Jegede said the matter was adjourned on Monday for a report of success or otherwise of service of processes on Gana. They had told the court on Monday of the difficulty in serving the processes on the respondent which led the court to grant an order of substituted service.
Upon confirmation that Gana on Tuesday personally received the processes, his lawyer, M.S. Ibrahim, asked the court for 21 days to allow them respond to the issues raised in the processes.
Jegede, however, argued that with the elections barely five weeks away, it would be expedient for all parties and the court to judiciously manage time.
Agreeing with Jegede, the three-man panel of the court led by Justice Adamu Jauro, directed that Gana should file his response within eight days and adjourned the hearing to January 15.
Gana, Duke and officials of the party were present for the court proceedings along with their supporters.
However, the SDP said yesterday that Duke remained its presidential candidate following its appeal against the ruling of a lower court that gave the candidacy to Prof. Jerry Gana.
The SDP, in a statement signed by its Director, Media and Publicity, Yemi Akinbode, said no order was made with respect to the enforcement of the lower court judgement put on hold owing to the motion filed by the Appellants.