…Queries Apex Court Decision To Adopt Its Verdict On PDP Appeal In Its Case
THE Labour Party (LP) is claiming that the Supreme Court of Nigeria has refused and/or neglected to avail it with a certified true copy of the judgment it delivered on Thursday, 26th October 2023.
A release signed by the party’s National Secretary, Alhaji Umar Farouk Ibrahim stated that the party had, out of an abundance of caution, by letter dated 26th October 2023, applied to the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court for the certified true copy of the judgment in the LP appeal. The release said despite a reminder through a letter on 8th November 2023.,to date, the requests have been ignored.
The party further stated that it is also aware that by the provision of Section 294(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), every court established under the Constitution (which necessarily includes the Supreme Court) has a duty to: “Furnish all parties to the cause or matter determined with duly authenticated copies of the decision within seven days of the delivery thereof.”
The party stressed that the Supreme Court has failed to do this in the present appeal.
“With every sense of responsibility, the LP believes that the Supreme Court’s conduct is regrettable and unprecedented. This constitutes an unmitigated breach of the constitutional right of LP and her candidate to a fair hearing.”
The party also questions the rationale behind the adoption of the verdict in respect of the appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the LP appeal’s case, insisting that the two cases are sui generis. According to Alhaji Ibrahim, after the delivery of its verdict on the PDP appeal, “the Presiding Justice, His Lordship John Inyang Okoro JSC, verbally stated that the decision in the LP appeal would abide by the judgment just delivered in respect of the PDP appeal!”.
Alhaji Ibrahim says his party finds the position taken by the Supreme Court regarding the judgment in her appeal “extraordinary, terribly shocking, most unprecedented and unacceptable”. He gave his party’s reasons for holding this position to include:
(a) The appeals filed by both the PDP and LP from the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court were two distinct appeals which emanated from two separate judgments of the Court of Appeal.
(b) The two appeals were not even consolidated at the Supreme Court but were heard separately.
(c) At the separate hearing of both appeals, the question was never raised, the parties never agreed, and the Court neither gave a directive nor ordered that the judgment in one appeal would abide by the decision in the other!
(d) The petitions from where the two appeals arose were heard separately at the Court of Appeal based on separate pleadings and different sets of witnesses. Thus, the facts of the two petitions were remarkably different.
(e) The only issue where the parties agreed in the two appeals was 25% votes in Abuja. The other issues submitted to the Supreme Court for determination in the two appeals differed remarkably. By way of illustrations, we draw attention to some of the issues:
(i) Forfeiture of funds being proceeds of narcotics trafficking contained in the LP petition (and not in the reply);
(ii) Double nomination of the 3rd Respondent (who was not even a party in the PDP petition);
(iii) Failure to comply with the mandatory requirement of Section 73(2) of the Electoral Act, 2022, the consequence of which the provision stipulates, renders the election invalid.
(iv) The effect of the certified true copies of 18,123 blurred and unreadable polling unit result sheets (Form EC8As) downloaded from the IReV, issued by the INEC to the LP and its candidate which they tendered in Court. Some were blank A4 papers, pictures, and images of unknown persons. They were purported to be copies of polling unit results. Even with the materiality of the issue, the Court of Appeal evaded making a finding on it.
(f) They were all part of the LP appeal but not that of the PDP appeal.