Supreme Court Strikes Out HDP’s Appeal Against Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari

 

The Supreme Court has struck out the appeal of candidate of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP), Chief Ambrose Owuru against the election of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The appeal was struck out on the grounds that Owuru and his party engaged in gross abuse of court processes by filing two notices of appeal contrary to the provisions of the law.

In a unanimous decision of the Apex Court read by Justice Mary Peter-Odili on Thursday, the court held that the appellants failed to appeal against the August 22 ruling of the presidential election petition tribunal which struck out their petition for being incompetent.

Justice Odili upheld the argument of the counsel to President Muhammdu Buhari, that of INEC and Mr Lateef Fagbemi counsel to the APC that the two appellants embarked on a journey aimed at misdirecting the court by filing two notices of appeal and simultaneously used the two notices to formulate grounds of appeal, contrary to the provisions of the law.

The court haven upheld the preliminary objections of the three respondents to the appeal said that the HDP’s appeal has nothing to stand upon and consequently struck out the appeal.

When the matter was called, counsel to President Buhari, Wole Olanipekun, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Yunus Usman, and the All Progressives Congress (APC) Lateef Fagbemi had in separate preliminary objections asked the Apex Court to strike out the appeal on the grounds that the appellants contravened the law by filing two notices of appeal in one matter.

The three senior lawyers drew the attention of the court to the first notice of appeal filed on August 28 and the second one filed on September 2, which were simultaneously used to formulate issues in the main appeal and which were predicated on different grounds. The first one has 12 grounds and the second, eight grounds.

The respondents argued that the action of the appellants by the two notices of appeal constituted gross abuse of court process and aimed at irritating and annoying the respondents.

However, counsel to the appellants, Isaac Udoka, made spirited efforts to convince the apex court on why the two notices of appeal were filed in respect of one matter.

Udoka submitted that the appellants were forced to do so because the presidential election petition tribunal did not release a clean copy of its august 22 judgment on time while the time to file a notice of appeal was running out.

But Justice Odili rejected the plea of the appellants that the second notice of appeal be used as continuation of the first one, adding that apart from formulating different issues and grounds on the two offending notice of appeal, they were properly so titled as notice of appeal.

The panel held that it was wrong for the appellants to have filed two notices of appeal and simultaneously used the two to argue their case even when they were within the time allowed by law to file a proper notice of appeal.

The court, therefore, upheld the objection of the respondents to the hearing of the appeal and consequently struck it out.

Drama As Factional HDP Disowns Petition Against Buhari At Tribunal

FILE PHOTO: Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal during sitting. PHOTO: Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun

 

There was drama at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on Tuesday when a faction of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) disowned the petition filed by its presidential candidate, Ambrose Albert Owuru and the party against the election of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The faction of the party led by one Poland Tampre, at the resumed hearing of the petitions on Tuesday, announced that its presidential candidate was never authorised or mandated to file any petition against the February 23 presidential election.

Mr Tapre, who brought a motion to disown the petition of the presidential candidate, prayed the tribunal to strike out the name of the party from the petition.

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Two factions of the HDP had earlier announced appearances, one led by Mr Ambrose Owuru and another by Polan Tampre.

Mr Tampre filed a motion asking the tribunal to strike out the petition filed by Mr Oworu and his faction on the grounds that it is strange to his faction of the party.

Tapre, in the motion, argued by his counsel, Anthony Agbonlahan, pleaded with the tribunal presided by Justice Mohammed Lawal Garba to remove the party’s name from the petition because HDP has no intention of challenging the outcome of the presidential poll.

In the motion, which has three exhibits, the faction claimed that Mr Owuru did not consult with the party leadership before using the name of the party as the second petitioner against the election of President Buhari.

However, the presidential candidate of the party, Mr Owuru vehemently opposed the attempt to scuttle his petition with a counter affidavit of six paragraphs deposed to by one Auwal Abdullahi, who claimed to be national financial secretary of the party.

He said the bid to remove the party’s name from his petition is a “gang up” against his petition and urged the tribunal to ignore the purported factional chairman.

Owuru’s counsel, Chukwunonyerem Njokwu, in the counter affidavit described the factional chairman as an impostor who is not known to the party in any capacity.

The counsel alleged that the factional chairman was a sponsored agent sent to the tribunal to frustrate the speedy hearing of the petition and pleaded with the tribunal to award a punitive cost of N100million against the factional chairman for acting as a busy body and meddlesome interloper in the petition.

Counsel to the respondents in the case which include, President Muhammadu Buhari, INEC and the APC all support the application of the factional HDP Chairman, Tampre that the HDP be struck out as a party in the suit.

In a ruling on another motion, the tribunal permitted the HDP presidential candidate, Mr Owuru, to amend clerical errors in his petition but refused the request to call additional witnesses to testify against President Buhari.

Justice Garba ruled at the 21 days allowed by law to file a petition and list witnesses and their statements on oath had lapsed, hence, additional witnesses could not be allowed.

HDP Returns To Tribunal Against Buhari

 

The presidential election petitions tribunal has continued its sitting today with hope democratic party presenting its case against the victory of president Muhammadu Buhari at the February the 23rd presidential election.

The party is also challenging the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC at the tribunal over its decision to postpone the presidential election from February the 16th to February the 23rd without any legal backing.

Counsel to the Hope Democratic Party argued their applications before the tribunal this morning, particularly the request for the dismissal of the election of the president.

The presidential election tribunal allowed in part the application filed by the Hope Democratic Party to amend their petition challenging the election of president Muhammadu Buhari.

In a unanimous ruling delivered by the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Muhammed Garba the tribunal allowed prayer one of the two-part motion on the grounds that correction of errors such as typographical errors in a petition do not go to alter the facts of the petition.

READ ALSO: Alleged Certificate Fraud: Appeal Court Gives Buhari, APC Five Days To Respond

He added that in the present motion prayer one which seeks to correct the arrangement of the names of the respondents and other typographical errors do not alter the relevant sections of the petition as such it is granted.

The tribunal, however, refused to grant prayer two which sort to bring an additional list of witnesses and their witness statement on the grounds that such a correction will alter relevant facts of the petition and will have an effect on the outcome of the petition.

The Apex Court held that the law envisages that at the filing of the petition the law makes it mandatory that the petition is accompanied by a list of witnesses, witness statement and all materials to be used to manage the petition.

The tribunal also said that the filing as envisaged by law must be done not later than twenty-one days after the case of action which is the announcement of the results of the election been disputed and clearly this application has been filed out of time and cannot be granted as such prayer to is refused.

The tribunal concluded that the petition succeeds in part and the amended petition of the hope democratic party making the relevant typographical corrections is allowed while the amended list of witnesses is to be discarded.

ICYMI: HDP Seeks Cancellation Of February 23 Presidential Election

INEC To Conduct Supplementary Election In Lagos
File photo of voters at the polling booth during 2019 election.

 

The Hope Democratic Party (HDP) one of the parties that participated in the election conducted by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) has insisted that the February 23 poll is unknown to law and should be invalidated by the tribunal.

The party told the presidential election petitions tribunal that the poll, which produced President Muhammadu Buhari, for a second term in office is unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional.

In a fresh motion filed by the party and its presidential candidate, Chief Ambrose Owuru, it was argued that the postponement of the election from February 16 to 23 had no backing of any law as no cogent and verifiable reason required by law were advanced for the postponement.

READ ALSO: General Elections: NASS To Take Immediate Action On EU Recommendations

The party’s counsel, Ezechukwu Kennedy in the fresh motion, insisted that the February 23 poll was never validly held by INEC and cannot produce any valid result or returns recognisable by law.

Although the party admitted that the electoral body has powers under section 26 of the Electoral Act 2010, it, however, maintained that no cogent and verifiable reason were produced by INEC to postpone the February 16 election and thereby rendered the February 23 election a nullity under the same law.

HDP which cited several authorities to buttress its averment said that since INEC breached the provisions of the Electoral Act especially section 26 to conduct the February 23rd poll, the purported election cannot stand in the eyes of the law.

The party, therefore, prayed for an order compelling INEC to produce at the tribunal notice of election, original timetable for February 16, the press statement of February 16 as well as minutes of the meeting where the decision to postpone the February 16, presidential was held.

The HDP also prayed that the return of President Buhari for a second term in office on account of February 23 election be invalidated and set aside because the election has no force of law.

HDP and its presidential candidate had earlier filed a petition asking the tribunal to nullify the election that brought Buhari to office.

The main grouse of the petitioners was that they were validly nominated for the 2019 general elections but were unlawfully excluded from the said elections by INEC by delisting their names and party logo from the ballot papers.

Another grouse of the petitioners was that the electoral body placed a false version of their registered party logo on the ballot papers for elections which cost them the chances of realising their political ambition in the 2019 general elections.

The tribunal will resume pre-hearing season in the HDP petition against the election of President Buhari on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

Election Petitions Tribunal: Buhari’s Lawyer, INEC Ask Court To Strike Out HDP’s Petition

FILE PHOTO: Presidential Petitions Tribunal during a sitting. PHOTO: Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun

 

Counsel to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr Wole Olanipekun has filed an application praying the court to strike out and dismiss the petition of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP).

According to him what was filed before the court by the HDP is not an election petition.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) also filed an application seeking for the court to strike out HDP’s petition because it did not join Vice-President Yemi Osinbanjo in its petition since he won the election alongside President Buhari and was also issued a separate certificate of return.

READ ALSO: Presidential Petition Tribunal: Mild Drama As Two Lawyers Announce Appearance For HDP

Also filing an application to dismiss the suit of the HDP is the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the grounds that all the features of abuse of court process including the reliefs sought by the HDP are found in the petition of the party and none of it has any relationship with an election.

Election Petitions Tribunal: Mild Drama As Two Lawyers Announce Appearance For HDP

FILE PHOTO: Presidential Petitions Tribunal during a sitting. PHOTO: Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun

 

The presidential petition tribunal on Thursday continued sitting in Abuja but a mild drama played out as two different lawyers announced appearance for the Hope Democratic Party (HDP).

Mr Oliver Eyo, who had been representing the party since the commencement of the trial announced his appearance, while another lawyer Mr Tobi Esieegbe also announced his appearance.

A factional leader of the party, Mr Roland Tambra who says he is the national chairman of the party told the tribunal that Mr Eyo is not his counsel.

READ ALSO: Okorocha Sworn-In As Senator

Eyo in countering the argument asked the court to take judicial notice that both Mr Roland and his lawyers never filed any process before the court that they are only imposters whose actions have been reported to the police.

Chairman of the tribunal Muhammed Garba then asked Mr Eseigbe if he had filed any motion before the court.

Mr Esieegbe in response said he had not filed anything because the petitioner filed the petition without the consent of the party.

The tribunal then took note of other appearances in the case.

The chairman, Garba later concluded that the court received no notice of change of counsel. All the court has is the process of the first counsel.

Until the tribunal finds a notice of change of counsel the presumption is that the counsel who brought the petition is the one the court will pay attention to. It is not for the tribunal to decide for the party.

IPAC Removes Secretary, Deputy, To Fill Vacant Positions Nov 19

IPACThe Inter-Party Advisory Council of Nigeria, IPAC has removed its Secretary, Mr Godson Okoye and Deputy Secretary, Mr Rasaq Eyiowuawi for violations of the Council’s Code of Conduct.

This was the outcome of the meeting of its General Assembly on November 11 and 12, 2015, according to a statement by IPAC Publicity Secretary, Ogbuehi Dike.

The meeting which had 21 political parties and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC in attendance, had received a report from a Committee set up earlier to determine cases of violations of Political Parties Code of Conduct 2013 brought by the Executive Committee against Mr Godson Okoye and Mr. Rasaq Eyiowuawi.

“A Committee set up by the General Assembly of IPAC and chaired by the National Chairman of Hope Democratic Party, Chief Ambrose Albert Owuru had, after investigating the charges of misconduct against Messrs Okoye and Eyiowuawi, presented a report to the Council’s General Assembly on 12th November 2015 on violations of Articles 5 and 10 of the Political Parties Code of Conduct against the two national officers and recommended their removal.

“The two officers were invited to defend themselves but they declined, without giving reasons for doing so. In his reply to the invitation by the Chairman of the investigation committee, the Deputy Secretary wrote, ‘Don’t ever in your life send me these messages again’,” the statement read.

The IPAC also listed the parties that voted for the removal of the two national officers. They include Accord, Action Alliance, Advance Congress of Democrats, African Democratic Congress, Alliance for Democracy, African Political Alliance, All Progressive Congress, Citizen Popular Party, Democratic Peoples Party and Fresh Democratic Party.

Others are Hope Democratic Party, Independent Democrats, KOWA Party, Mega Progressive Peoples Party, New Nigeria Peoples Party, Peoples Democratic Movement, Peoples Party of Nigeria, Social Democratic Party, Unity Party of Nigeria and United Peoples Party.

The Inter-Party Advisory Council, IPAC, has also set up an Election Committee to conduct a by-election into the vacant positions of Secretary and Deputy Secretary. The Election Committee, which has three members, is chaired by the National Chairman of United Peoples Party, Chekwas Okorie, with the National Chairman of DPP, Mr Benson Gashon, as Member and National Secretary of UPN, Abubakar Sokoto, as Secretary.

The IPAC Election Committee has requested political parties interested in contesting any of the two positions to send in their nomination on or before Wednesday, November 18, 2015. INEC is required to supervise elections into the IPAC Executive Committee.

IPAC had conducted an election into its Executive Committee on July 24, 2015 in which the National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Movement, Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim emerged as Chairman of the Council to defeat his opponent Mr Peter Ameh of Progressive Peoples Alliance.

Mr. Ameh had since approached the Abuja Federal High Court to challenge the election.

The Political Parties Code of Conduct 2013 was written and adopted by Nigeria’s registered political parties on July 16, 2013 to regulate their conduct. It also doubles as the governing regulation of the Inter-Party Advisory Council.