The Supreme Court on Monday strikes out a motion seeking to determine the authentic candidate of the All Progressives Congress for the 2019 governorship election in Rivers State.
A seven-member panel of the Court struck out the request after ruling that the manner in which the applicants brought their prayer was incompatible with the laid down procedure for such applications. The judgment was delivered by the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mohammad Tanko.
The applicants are members of the APC in the Magnus Abe faction of the party. The court also said they were wrong in including people who were not part of the matter before the case arrived the Supreme Court.
The court added that the time allowed for such applications was 14 days after the date the case was determined at the lower court.
Mr Tanko added that the decision of the parties to amend their request after 14 days, rendered their application defective.
Consequently, the apex court ruled that the application was lacking in merit and struck it out.
Mr Abe had approached the court to determine whether the candidate produced by his faction or that produced by the Tonye Cole-led faction was the authentic candidate in the election.
His application followed an initial decision of the Supreme Court which affirmed the nullification of the primaries conducted by a faction of the APC.
According to Premium Times, the Rivers APC has two factions, one loyal to the serving senator, Mr Abe, and another to Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi. While Mr Amaechi’s faction produced Mr Cole as governorship candidate, Mr Abe’s faction produced him as the candidate.
On May 11, 2018, a high court in Rivers presided by Chinwendu Nwogu gave an injunction barring the APC from conducting its congress scheduled for the next day.
The party, from the faction loyal to Mr Cole, ignored the injunction and proceeded with the congress on May 12. The party also conducted other congresses where party representatives loyal to Mr Ameachi emerged as candidates for the state elections.
In addition, the factional members challenged the decision in a motion brought before the Appeal Court on May 15.
Following that request, on June 21, 2018, the Court of Appeal affirmed the congresses conducted by the APC and nullified the injunction issued by the High Court.
Dissatisfied, Mr Abe’s faction challenged the June 21 decision at the Supreme Court.
Consequently, on October 22, the Supreme Court nullified the judgment of the Court of Appeal and questioned the lower court for allowing a request by “applicants in breach of an existing court order.”
But the APC members led by Mr Cole approached the court with yet another request. Subsequently, on February 4, the Court of Appeal affirmed the candidate of the faction led by Mr Cole as the authentic candidate of APC for the state governorship election.
However, following a further appeal on February 8, Mr Abe’s faction secured another victory which saw the apex court nullifying the decision of the Court of Appeal on February 4.
The apex court viewed that the appeal court was wrong in its actions and evoked section 22 of the Supreme Court rules which allowed it to revoke decisions termed wrongful by the lower court.
Subsequently, Mr Abe again returned to the Supreme Court with a request for the court to make a final pronouncement on who is the rightful candidate of the party is, in the general elections.
The Court has, however, struck out the request for lacking in merit.
Speaking during an interview with journalists after the ruling, Mr Abe’s lawyer, Henry Bello, said the Supreme Court decision has taken away their opportunity to determine the authentic candidate of the party in the recent election. He, however, said the applicants are bound by the final decision.
Supreme court dismisses Atiku server suit
The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the appeal by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23 election, Atiku Abubakar, seeking to Inspect the central server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for lacking in merit.
The apex court held that the request lacked merit because it was brought by Atiku after the parties had joined issues on the existence or otherwise of the server.
According to the unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Chima Nweze, the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal was in order in refusing to grant Atiku’s request at the time it was made so as not to prejudice other parties in the matter.
In addition, the apex court held that the appeal lacked merit because the appellants failed to prove how the decision of the tribunal was unfair to them.
Justice Nweze said a party can only complain of the lack of fair hearing when discretion of court was wrongly or arbitrarily used by the court, adding that in this instant case the tribunal used its discretion judicially and judiciously.
“I see no reason to depart from the decision of the lower court, the appeal is lacking in merit and is hereby dismissed,” the judge held.
Supreme Court set to rule on INEC server
The Supreme Court has suspended proceedings to rule on an appeal by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the last presidential election, for permission to be allowed access to a supposed server owned by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) had on June 24, 2019, dismissed an application by Atiku and the PDP requesting permission to have access to the central server, which they claimed INEC used for the February 23 poll.
It is the decision of June 24 that Atiku and the PDP now appealed at the Supreme Court.
A panel of the Supreme Court (led by Justice Datijo Mohammed after taking arguments from Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, (for the appellants); Yunus Usman, SAN, (for INEC); Wole Olanipekun, SAN, (for President Muhammadu Buhari) and Charles Edosomwan, SAN, (for the All Progressives Congress), rose briefly to consider the arguments and return for its decision.
The Election Petition Court, at the Court of Appeal, Abuja, had, while dismissing the application by Atiku and the PDP, held that INEC, having denied the existence of the said server and insisted that results of the election were not electronically transmitted into any server as claimed by the petitioners (Atiku and PDP), granting the application would amount to deciding the central issue in the petition at the interlocutory stage.
The court’s Presiding Justice, Justice Mohammed Garba, who read the ruling, added that granting the application would imply that the court had “indeed recognised and found out that there is a central server into which results of the held on February 23, 2019 were electronically transmitted by the 1st respondent (INEC).”
Buhari tasks ministers on team work
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja told ministers-designate that they must work as a team, stressing that his administration would rely on them to implement policies and programs to lift Nigerians out of poverty.
The president also described as frightening Nigeria’s “looming” population status, which he put at 200 million today but has been estimated by the United Nations (UN) to rise to 411 million by 2050.
He told the would-be ministers in Abuja at the opening of the two-day retreat for them that “working as a team demands that we know what the next person is doing.”
The retreat is to familiarise the incoming cabinet members with governance process and to let them know expectations of them.
The retreat also began on a day the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, refused to grant an order by indigenes of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) seeking to stop the president from swearing in the 43 ministers-designate.
In his speech at the retreat, Buhari said: “As ministers, I am counting on you together with advisers and Nigerians willing and able to contribute to building upon our road map of policies, programs, and projects that will lift the bulk of our people out of poverty and set them on the road to prosperity.
“Our administration’s eight years will have laid the grounds for lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years. This outcome will fundamentally shift Nigeria’s trajectory and place us among the world’s great nations.”
The president also told participants at the retreat to see their appointments as a great privilege and to ensure that they put in their best because Nigeria needs frontline individuals to address its many challenges.
He warned them to prepare for arduous commitments, which would require long hours of work and acute labor all geared towards optimal performance.
Buhari seized the occasion to give account of activities of his administration in the first term.
He said: “First – we have rolled back the frontiers of terrorism; we are actively addressing other challenges such as kidnappings, farmer-herder violence, improving the safety of our roads, railways, air traffic and fire control capacities.
“Second – we are steadily turning the economy round through investment in agriculture and manufacturing, shoring up our foreign reserves, curbing inflation and improving the country’s infrastructure.
“Third – on corruption, we have recovered hundreds of billions of stolen assets and are actively pursuing control measures to tackle leakages in public resources. We will not let up in fighting corruption.”
BREAKING: S’Court strikes out Atiku, PDP suit
The Supreme Court has struck out an appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the last presidential election.
The appeal marked SC/738/2019 was filed against a ruling of the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), in which it held that the Atiku and the PDP do not have a reply to an application filed on May 14, 2019, by the All Progressives Congress (APC) seeking among others, the dismissal of their (Atiku and the PDP) challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory at the last presidential election.
In a ruling on Tuesday, a five-man panel led by Justice Datijo Mohammed struck out the appeal for having become statute-barred.
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