The Supreme Court yesterday struck out an appeal filed by the National Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) against the Adebayo Dayo-led faction of the party in Ogun state.
The Adebayo Dayo-led faction is loyal to the party’s controversial governorship candidate, Senator Buruji Kashamu.
By the decision of the Apex Court, Kashamu Buruji who is recognised by the Adebayo Dayo faction of party in the state, will participate in the election as the party’s governorship candidate.
Justice Mohammed Musa Dattijo of the Apex Court struck out the appeal on the ground that it has become statute barred, lifeless and worthless having been overtaken by the 4th Alteration to the 1999 Constitution.
PDP in the appeal had challenged the judgment of Justice of the Federal High Court sitting in Abeokuta and Ibadan division of the Court of Appeal which recognised the Adebayo Dayo led Executive Committee of the party in Ogun State as the authentic leadership.
Counsel to the appellant’s Emeka Etiaba (SAN) had argued that the matter was not a pre-election, but a leadership tussle between factional members of the PDP in Ogun State.
However, Counsel to the Adebayo Dayo led group, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN) insisted that it was a pre-election matter because it relates to the candidate nomination for the next general election.
He also argued that ground 8 of the application filed on December 14, 2018 by the appellant prayed for accelerated hearing of the appeal, as the subject of the matter is to determine who are the rightful candidates of the appellant in Ogun State.
Iziyon referred to paragraphs 11, 12 and 13 of the affidavit supporting the application where the appellant also said that the matter is about the determination of which of the two set of candidates that emanated from the two executive of the party should Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should accept.
He also however explained that the suit has become a mere academic exercise because it has been caught up with a provision of the 1999 Constitution that a pre-election suit must be filed within 14 days.
The court accepted the submissions by Izinyon and held that the case was a pre-election matter, on which the court no longer has jurisdiction in view of the effect of the 4th Alteration Act.
Justice Dattijo in his ruling agreed with izinyon that the appeal has become statute barred and lifeless and consequently struck it out.
The Apex Court held that the precious time of the court and energy of the justices cannot be dissipated on an appeal that will not confer any benefit on the appellant.
. . . To Decide Rivers APC Tussle Today
The Supreme Court will today decide on the authentic faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State.
The decision of the Apex Court will then determine the governorship candidate of the party, between factional leader, Sen Magnus Abe and preferred candidates of the faction loyal to the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, Mr Tonye Cole.
A five man Panel of the Supreme Court, yesterday, adjourned to today to deliver judgement on the appeal challenging the judgement delivered by the Port Harcourt division of the Federal High Court which set aside the 2 primaries conducted by two factions of the APC in Rivers state.
The panel led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour announced that the Apex Court would deliver its judgement on the appeal shortly after both counsel for appellant, APC , Lateef Fagbemi and counsel to the respondents, Henry Bello, made their final submissions on the matter.
Fagbemi in praying the Apex Court to nullify the judgement of the trial court submitted that the trial court had no jurisdiction when it entertain the suit.
He also claimed that since the trial court had no jurisdiction it’s judgement in the matter amount to a nullity and should be set aside.
Fagbemi specifically asked the Supreme Court to invoke section 22 of the Supreme Court Act and give final judgement in the matter to end the multiple cases arising from the Rivers State APC primary election.
Counsel to the respondents , Bello urged the Apex Court to dismiss the appeal of the APC on the ground that it has become a mere academic exercise having been overtaken by event.
He argued that by the decision of the apex court on February 8, 2019 which upheld the decision of the trial Court and barred APC from primary election, the case of APC had died and should be buried .
Bello further explained that the respondents led by Ibrahim Umar who were aggrieved by the violation of the Electoral Act and the 1999 constitution in the manner APC conducted pre- election matters in Rivers, had secured a consent judgement in their favour that the judgement still stands.
He urged the court to hold that the instant appeal has become accademic exercise.
The Court, however, fixed judgement for today but said the reasons for its position would be given at a later date.