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Bayelsa Governorship tussle: Your request vexatious, frivolous, regrettable, Supreme Court tells APC

Feb 26, 2020 | The Newsroom
Bayelsa Governorship tussle: Your request vexatious, frivolous, regrettable, Supreme Court tells APC

The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed an application by the All Progressives Congress, APC and David Lyon for the review of the verdict on the Bayelsa State Governorship election.
The Apex Court also ordered the lawyers to the Applicants, Afe Babalola and Wole Olanipekun, to pay N10 million each to each of the three Respondents.

The seven man Panel of Justices led by Sylvester Ngwuta dismissed the two applications for lacking in merit.

Justice Amina Augie while delivering the ruling said the request to review the judgment was vexatious, frivolous and regrettable.

Augie in the unanimous ruling came down heavily on the Counsels to the Applicants, Babalola and Olanipekun  for filing the motions which the Court described as regrettable motions and a deliberate desecration of the Judiciary.

“With tears in my eyes, I feel sad that Senior Counsels in this case would ever bring this kind of frivolous applications during my life time”.

She held that by Order 8, Rule 16 of the Supreme Court, the Court has no powers or authority to review any judgment delivered on merit safe for clerical error.

“This court is not authorised and indeed lacked jurisdiction to review any judgment delivered on merit.

“More so when the Applicants have not pointed out any accidental error or slip in the judgment. There must be an end to every litigation.

“This is final Court and its decisions are final for all ages so as to ensure certainty in law,” she held.

According to her, “the two Applications brought before us today lacked merit and constituted abuse of this Court and they are liable to dismissal and are hereby dismissed.

Babalola, Counsel to Lyon and Deputy had in his submissions said that the Supreme Court has inherent decision and power to set aside its own decision.

“The judgment which voided the election of Lyon and his Deputy was a nullity on account of denial of fair hearing to them.

According to him, ‘the procedure adopted by the Apex Court on February 13 was wrong because there was no cause of action at the time it gave judgment against Lyon.

However, Tayo Oyetibo, Counsel to the PDP informed the Apex Court that the Applications by APC and its Candidates were dangerous invitation to the Supreme Court to violate section 285 of the 1999 Constitution, for the Court to sit on appeal over its own matter.

Oyetibo argued that having delivered final judgment on merit, the Court has no jurisdiction to sit on appeal in the judgment, adding that it is scandalous to ask the Apex Court to review the judgment.

He further stated that the Apex Court was right in disqualifying Lyon as the Governor-elect because section 187 of the 1999 Constitution is clear and unambiguous to the effect that a Governorship Candidate who has no Deputy Candidate is not qualified to contest any Governorship election in Nigeria.

“When Supreme Court gives judgment, it is deemed correct. 

It has never happened in the history of the Supreme Court to reverse itself, its judgment is final and finality: and whatever Supreme Court says in the interpretation of the law is the law”, he said.

His submissions were subsequently adopted by other Respondents in the matter.

The Apex Court had in February held that the nomination form Degi-Eremieoyo submitted to INEC for the purpose of the November 16, 2019 Governorship election in the state, contained false information of fundamental nature.

However not satisfied with the decision of the Apex Court, the APC, Lyon and Degi-Eremienyo applied to the Court for a review and setting aside of its judgment that disqualified them from the November 16 poll.

The Applicants specifically wants the Supreme Court to set aside the “wrong” interpretation given to its judgment of February 13, 2020 and the subsequent execution by INEC.

Among others, APC is contending that the Supreme Court, in its judgment,  misinterpreted the November 12, 2019 judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja which it affirmed.

The party argued that the Supreme Court acted without jurisdiction and denied it fair hearing when it proceeded to disqualify its Governorship Candidate even though the Federal High Court, in the judgment by Justice Inyang Ekwo, which the Apex Court affirmed, refused the  prayer to disqualify Lyon.

APC also faulted the interpretation given to the Supreme Court judgment by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in deciding to issue certificate of return to the candidates of the PDP.

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