Politics

Bayelsa Judgement review: Supreme Court fixes date to hear APC’s request

The Supreme Court has fixed the date for the application file by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to review its February 13, 2020 judgement which sacked David Lyon of the APC candidate in the last governorship election in Bayelsa State.

According to the Registrar of the Supreme Court, he said the court has scheduled Wednesday, February 26, for the hearing of the application and the date has been communicated to the parties.

Though, it was however not clear on Sunday whether or not respondents to the APC’s application have filed their responses to the application.

In the application filed on February 20, 2020 by its team of lawyers led by Wole Olanipekun (SAN), the APC wants the Supreme Court to set aside some portions of its judgment.

They include where it “wrongly” held that the Federal High Court disqualified its governorship candidate along with its deputy governorship candidate; and where it held that joint ticket of its candidates was vitiated by the disqualification of the deputy governorship candidate and that both candidates are deemed not to be candidates in the election.

It is also the APC’s prayer that the Supreme Court sets aside the portion of the judgment where it ordered INEC to declare as winner of the governorship election, candidates with the highest number of lawful votes; and where it ordered INEC to withdrew the certificate of return issued to its governorship candidate and the issuance of fresh one to the candidate who had the highest number of lawful votes.

The APC argued that it was wrong for the Supreme Court to have voided its candidates’ participation in the election, because the judgment by the Federal High Court, which disqualified its deputy governorship candidate, was stayed as at when the election was conducted.

The APC also wants the Supreme Court to set aside the “wrong” interpretation given to its judgment of February 13, 2020 and the subsequent execution by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

It is APC’s contention, among others, that the Supreme Court, in its judgment, misinterpreted the November 12, 2019 judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja which it (the Supreme Court) affirmed.

The APC argued that the Supreme Court acted without jurisdiction and denied it (the party) 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 plaintiffs’ prayer to disqualify Lyon.

The party 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 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The APC stated: “By an originating summons dated 12th September, 2019, in Suit NO: PHC/ABJ/CS/ 1101/2019 between Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) & 2 Ors. v. Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo & 3 ors., the respondents approached the Federal High Court for a total of 10 reliefs.

In the judgment of the Federal High Court, per Ekwo J., delivered on 12th November, 2019, the said court granted only 6 (six) of the reliefs.

“In the drawn up order of the Federal High Court duly signed by the trial judge the 6 (six) reliefs granted are clearly encapsulated therein.

“In specific reference to the reliefs for the disqualification of the governorship candidate of the applicant (Lyon Dovid Pereworimin), the trial court refused to grant the plaintiffs’ prayers to disqualify him.

“It was only the Deputy Governorship candidate of the applicant (Biobarakuma Degl-Eremienyo) that the trial High Court made an order of disqualification against.

“Applicant and its governorship and deputy governorship candidates timeously appealed the judgment of the Federal High Court to the Court of Appeal, and also applied for a stay of execution of the said judgment pending appeal.

“By on order mode on 13th November 2019 in CA/A/1053/M/2019 between Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo & Anor v. Peoples Democratic Party & ors., the Court of Appeal. Abuja judicial division, stayed the execution of the judgment of the trial High Court delivered on 12th November, 2019.

“As at the time the governorship election in Bayelsa State was conducted on 16th November 2019 the order for stay of execution granted by the Court of Appeal was subsisting and there was no appeal against it.

“The judgment of the Court of Appeal was delivered on 23rd December, 2019 whereby the Court of Appeal set aside the decision of the trial High Court delivered on 12th November 2019.

“There was no cross-appeal to the Court of Appeal against the decision of the trial High Court refusing to make an order disqualifying the governorship candidate of the applicant (Lyon Dovid Pereworimin).

“In the judgment of this honourable court delivered on 13th February, 2019 this honourable court set aside the decision of the Court of Appeal and restored the decision of the trial High Court.

In the enrolled order of the judgment of the trial High Court, no disqualification order was mode against the applicant’s candidate (Lyon David Pereworimin), whether consequentially or otherwise.

“After reinstating the judgment of the trial court in the judgment of this honourable court of this 13th February, 2020, in SC.1/2020 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) & 2 Ors. v. Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo & 3 ors., this honourable court proceeded to disqualify the governorship candidate of the applicant (Lyon David Pereworimin) despite the fact that the trial High Court refused to grant the reliefs for his disqualification and there was no appeal against same.

“In this honourable court’s judgment of 13th February, 2020, the court erroneously and inadvertently stated that the trial High Court consequentially disqualified the applicant‘s governorship candidate even though the trial court mode no such order and when the trial court indeed refused to grant the express orders sought by the plaintiffs therein for his disqualification.

“This honourable court acted without jurisdiction by holding as in (xiii) and (xiv). supra (as contained in the two paragraphs above) and also breached applicant’s right to fair hearing.

“With respect, the portions of the judgment of this honourable court highlighted in the body of this application constitute a nullity.

“With respect, the decision of this honourable court of 13th February, 2020, in SC.1/ 2020 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) & 2 ors. v. Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo & 3 ors., was premised on and vitiated by a fundamental error.

“With respect the decision of this honourable court of this 13th February, 2020, in SC. 1/ 2020 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) & 2 ors. v. Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo & 3 ors., is contrary to public policy.

“By a press statement made on 14th February, 2020, the Chairman of the 4th (INEC) respondent purported to interpret the judgment of this Honourable Court of 13th February, 2020 in SC.1/2020 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) & 2 ors. v. Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo 8. 3 ors.

“In the said press statement, the 4th respondent reviewed the judgment of this honourable court, gave it a different interpretation and come to a wrong conclusion. thus declaring the 2nd and 3rd respondents as the Governor and Deputy Governor elect of Bayelsa State, respectively.”

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Uche Emmanuel

Uche Emmanuel is a seasoned editor and reporter. He graduated from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State. He studied Psychology. A blogger for the past 5 years.

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