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Supreme Court: Justice I. Okoro Delivers Peter Obi’s Judgement CTC

Supreme Court: Justice I. Okoro Delivers Peter Obi’s Judgement CTC  

Nearly two months after the Supreme Court affirmed the controversial election that brought the now President of Nigeria Bola Ahmed Tinubu into office as the winner of the February 25 polls, Justice I. Okoro of the Supreme Court after demands and several critics delivered Peter Obi’s judgment Certified True Copy (CTC) long after 40 days of the controversial judgment. However, the burden of proof was put to a kangaroo judgment leading to the overturning of justice and the rule of law on the electoral petition as enshrined both in the Electoral Act and Constitution of Nigeria.

In a bid to get the Supreme Court to make public the CTC, the Labour Party National Secretary, Alhaji Umar Farouq Ibrahim in a statement released on 28th November 2023 with excerpts stating the following has made it clear that with every sense of responsibility, the Supreme Court conduct is regrettable and unprecedented as it constitutes an unmitigated breach of the constitutional rights of the party and her presidential candidate to fair hearing.

Excerpts  

1. The Supreme Court issued a hearing notice dated 25th October 2023, notifying the Labour Party (LP) and its candidate in the Presidential Election, Mr Peter Obi, that judgment would be delivered in their appeal to the Supreme Court in Appeal No. SC/CV/937/2023 on Thursday, 26th October, 2023.

2. On the 26th of October, 2023, LP and her lawyers were in Court. The Supreme Court proceeded to read the judgment in Appeal No. SC/CV/935/2023 filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). After that, 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!

3. The LP finds the position taken by the Supreme Court regarding the judgment in her appeal extraordinary, terribly shocking, most unprecedented, and unacceptable for the following reasons:

(a) The appeals filed by both the PDP and LP from the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court were two distinct appeals that 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.

(g) The LP 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. There was a reminder through a letter on 8th November 2023. However, to date, the requests have been ignored.

(h) The LP 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.”

(i) The Supreme Court has failed to do this in the present appeal.

Now that the critics have been met with a reactionary response to the Supreme Court provision of the CTC, well-meaning Nigerians can now read a copy of the Judgment-By-John-I.-Okoro-JSC-Mr.-Peter-Obi

Also that of Justice Saulawa and Judgment-By-Uwani-Musa-Abba-JSC-Mr.-P

Future electorates in Nigeria need the mother of all resistance if and when their right to elect a leader of any public office of the Federation is to be respected and adhered to. Change comes only from those who seek it, never those who perpetrate what warrants the need for change.

 

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