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 the presidential candidate of the party. 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 SDP 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 on Thursday, Jegede informed that the matter was adjourned on Monday to yesterday 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. Daily Trust reports that Gana, Duke and officials of the party were present for the court proceedings together with their teeming supporters.