The Supreme Court in Abuja on Monday struck out an appeal filed by the presidential candidate of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP), Ambrose Owuru, seeking the nullification of President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election.
The four-member panel led by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola struck out the appeal following a dramatic withdrawal of an application for the appeal to be heard afresh.
Mr Owuru and his party had requested the court to allow them to bring back their appeal which was struck out due to errors of filing two notices of appeal instead of one.
During the court hearing on Monday, the court drew the attention of the counsel representing the appellants, Sunday Ezema, to Section 285 (7) of the 1999 Constitution and was asked whether the appeal had not become statute-barred.
Mr Ezema insisted the appeal can still be heard, but however, made a u-turn and applied for withdrawal of the application.
Justice Olukayode Ariwoola in a short ruling struck out the application.
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Mr Ariwoola also refused to award costs against the appellants as demanded by Yunus Usman, a counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and that of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Yakubu Maikyau.
President Buhari’s counsel, Wole Olanipekun, on his part did not ask for cost against the two appellants.
Before the ruling, Mr Olanipekun had objected to the application of the appellants to hear their appeal afresh on the grounds that the time to do so had lapsed.
He argued that the appellants were not fair to the court by engaging it in a non-justiciable application that will serve no purpose other than waste the time of the court.
This position was adopted by counsel representing INEC and APC but with demand for substantial cost against the appellants for wasting the time of the court with the frivolous application.
HDP had filed the fresh motion to challenge the way its earlier appeal against President Buhari’s election was determined and dismissed on what it termed technicality rather than the merit of law.
The motion filed by Chukwunonyerem Njoku on behalf of the appellants pleaded with the court to restore their appeal for a fresh hearing.
The Supreme Court had on October 3 in a unanimous judgement struck out an earlier appeal filed by Mr Owuru.
The five-member Supreme Court panel, led by Mary Odili, struck out the appeal on the grounds that Mr Owuru and his party filed two notices of appeal on one matter contrary to the provisions of the law, which the apex court described as an abuse of court processes.
“The two notices of appeal filed by the appellants and jointly utilised is a procedure not backed by law and cannot be used,” Mrs Odili said in the unanimous judgement.
“Rather the appellants have come here to tackle the decision on the merits which the court below handled out of the abundance of caution,” she said.
The appellants (Mr Owuru and HDP) had challenged the decision of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal which on August 22 dismissed their petition for want of competence.