Supreme Court confused as two lawyers represent Federal Government

Confusion over who was briefed by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mohammed Bello Adoke, to defend the federal government against the suit filed by 16 northern states for the payment of N7 billion as outstanding value of the assets of the defunct northern states marketing board stalled hearing of the case at the Supreme Court, as two senior advocates of Nigeria, Damien Dodo and Ade Okeaya-Ineh were both in court to represent the AGF.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Dahiru Musdapher who could not understand why the AGF would brief two lawyers for the same case was forced to adjourn the case to April 26 to allow the two senior counsel to sort out the confusion over representation.

In his address to the court Mr Dodo said that he was the first to be briefed but that he would try to accommodate Mr Okeaya-Ineh.

Not satisfied with the explanation, Justice Musdapher who was not satisfied with the explanation consulted other members of the panel of judges and then decided to adjourn the case to next month with a firm instruction to the lawyers to sort out who between the two of them would represent the federal government.

16 of the northern region’s 19 states are in the Supreme Court to compel the federal government to pay them N7 billion as outstanding values of the assets of the defunct Northern States Marketing Board (NSMB).

The board was taken over by the federal government in 1977 from the then north-western, north-central, Kano, north-eastern and central-western states.

The states as presently constituted consist of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara.

In the suit before the Supreme Court, the 16 states said in 1977, the then federal military government forcefully took over the assets of NSMB by virtue of decree no. 29 of 1977 without paying for its total value.

Supreme Court upholds the election of Uduaghan and Okorocha

The Supreme Court has affirmed the election of governors, Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta state and Rochas Okorocha of Imo state in an election petition brought before it for April 2011 elections.

Justice Sylvester Ngwuota who delivered the judgment on Friday on behalf of the three man panel dismissed the two applications against the governors for lack of competence.

Citing Section 285 of the Electoral Act, Justice Ngwuta held that the Court of Appeal is not competent to give a judgment of a suit and different reasons for a later date outside the 60 days stipulated by law.

He also says that a judgement and its reasons are one and the same and since the reason for the judgment did not come within the time frame allowed by the law it is a nullity and therefore cannot stand.

He therefore struck out the appeals and upheld the rulings of the election tribunals in both Imo and Delta state which ruled in favour of governor Emmanuel Uduaghan and Rochas Okorocha respectively.

The appeal against the election tribunal for Delta state was filed by Mr. Great Ogboru of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) while that of Imo state was by Ikedi Ohakim of the PDP.

Counsels to both Udughan and Okorocha praised the judiciary for its forthrightness and for ensuring that justice is not just delayed or denied but seen to have been done.

However counsel to Mr. Ohakim said he will abide by the rulings of the court but that of Mr. Ogboru expressed his dissatisfaction with the ruling noting that the real problem I with the Electoral Act. “Even though we are bound by the judgment, it is not satisfactory and there is a need for the national assembly to amend the Electoral Act, because if they fail to do so, parties in suits such as this will continue to suffer” he said.

Supreme Court Affirms Victory for Kano and Niger Polls

The Supreme Court in two separate judgments upheld the victory of Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger state and Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso on Kano states both of the Peoples’ Democratic Party PDP.
While delivering the  lead judgement in the Niger appeal, Justice Mary Odili held that the appellant failed to take the legal way to show the court that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not produce the materials requested for to be used as evidence.
The court further held that it was not its duty to compel INEC to obey the order adding that the lower courts were right in arriving at their decision.

The apex court later dismissed the appeal for lacking in merit, upholding the decision of the tribunal and court of appeal.
In the Kano judgement the lead judgment which was delivered by Justice Danladi Galadima dismissed the appeal of the ANPP challenging the victory of Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano state.

Justice Danladi Galadima who presided over the suit ruled that the appellant failed to prove his case beyond reasonable doubt.
The All Nigerian Peoples Party had approached the court on the basis that there were gross violation of the electoral act 2010 as amended in the election that brought Governor Kwankwaso to power.

However the court agreed with the governor that the onus to prove the allegation is on the appellant, which had failed to prove his allegation.


Supreme Court reinstates Kwara’s sacked Chief Judge

Almost three years, after she was removed from office by the then Kwara State Governor, Bukola Saraki, the Supreme Court on Friday reinstated the Chief Judge of Kwara State, Justice Raliat Elelu-Habeeb holding that the state governor does not have the absolute power to remover her from office without input from the National Judicial Council.

Supreme Court

A panel constituted of 7 Judges were unanimous in their judgment that the Nigeria Judicial Commission (NJC) had a role to play before a state governor could remove the chief judge of the state from office.

Justice Mahmud Mohammed who delivered the lead judgment held that when all the relevant provisions of the constitution were read together, it would become obvious that a state governor could not remove a chief judge from office without having recourse to the NJC.

“It is not difficult to see that for the effective exercise of the powers of removal of a chief judge of a state by the governor and house of assembly, the first port of call by the governor shall be the NJC,” he said.

According to him, the council is equipped with the personnel and resources to investigate the inability of the chief judge to discharge the functions of its office, the subject of disciplinary action of removal through the committees of the council.

Justice Mohammed further said that “from very clear provisions of the constitution which are very far from being ambiguous, the governors of the states and the houses of assembly of the states cannot exercise disciplinary control touching on the removal of chief judges of states or other judicial officers in the states.”

Justice Elelu-Habeeb was sacked by the former Kwara State Governor in 2009. She consequently dragged the government of Kwara State to the Federal High Court challenging the power of the state’s House of Assembly and the State Government to initiate disciplinary action against her. The lower court reached a decision in her favour, a decision which was subsequently upheld by the Appeal Court in Ilorin division and now the Supreme Court

Supreme Court Dismisses Suit Against Amaechi

The Supreme Court on Friday threw out a suit against the Rivers state governor, Chibuike Amaechi’s victory at the April 2011 governorship election by Felix Amadi, the governorship candidate of the African Political System Party.

Supreme Court Dismisses Suit Against Amaechi

Mr Amadi had filed the suit claiming that he was unlawfully omitted and excluded from contesting the election and he prayed the court to declare the election of Mr Amaechi as null and void.

The Election Petition Tribunal had previously dismissed Mr Amadi’s petition for lack of merit.

In his reaction, Mr Amaechi described the judgement as a vindication of his victory at the polls and gave “God Almighty the glory.” The governor said this in a press statement issued by his Spokesman, David Iyofor.

In the statement, Mr Iyofor said that “right from the inception of the Amaechi administration, the hand of God has been clearly visible. This is a victory for democracy; it is a victory for the rule of law and a victory for Rivers people.”

Supreme Court Grants Sylva Leave To Validate Candidacy

The Supreme Court on Monday granted leave to the former governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva, to seek to validate his nomination as the Governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] for the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state.

Supreme Court Grants Sylva Leave To Validate Candidacy

The five-man panel of the apex court presided over by Justice Mariam Aloma Mukhtar cleared the way for Sylva when it granted him leave to file a cross appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal, which held that the trial Judge Gabriel Kolawole went beyond himself in warning PDP not to tamper with the subject matter of the action before him.

The court also granted an order for accelerated hearing of the appeal of PDP and the cross appeal filed by Sylva and fixed February 7, 2012 for definite hearing. “In view of the fact that this is a political matter and requires urgency, the application for accelerated hearing is hereby granted. The appeal and cross appeal are fixed for next Tuesday, February 7 for hearing”, Justice Mukhtar held.

In Sylva’s cross appeal filed by Prince Lateef Fagbemi [SAN], he asked the apex court to consider the urgency and circumstances of the case and invoke Section 22 of its enabling statute and hear the case fully and determine it to its finality as if it is the high court.

If the court agrees with him, it will hear the originating summons filed by Sylva at the Federal High Court.
Both Sylva and PDP are presently before the apex court because they were dissatisfied with the judgment of the Abuja Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal had held that Sylva was right to have filed his case against PDP at the Federal High Court but added that the trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole went too far when he threatened to sanction PDP and INEC if they failed to appear before it within 72 hours to show cause why he should not grant Sylva all the reliefs he sought from the court.

In his appeal, Sylva said that the Court of Appeal erred in law when it held that the pronouncement of the trial judge, asking the Respondents to show cause and also warning the Respondents from taking any action which would foist upon the court a hopeless situation without hearing the Respondents amounted to pre-judging the issue before him.

He argued that a court of law had the responsibility of protecting the sanctity of its proceedings.

But PDP in its appeal said the court of appeal erred in law when it held that the Federal High Court had jurisdiction to hear Sylva’s case. It asked the court to strike out the case.

Sylva, however asked the court to grant all the reliefs he asked for at the high court.

It will be recalled that on Saturday January 7th, 2012 the Abuja division of the Court of Appeal y ruled that Sylva was right in approaching the Federal High Court in Abuja to stop PDP from conducting another primary for the purpose of selecting the party’s candidate for the next governorship election.

Supreme Court Sacks Five State Governors

The long drawn legal battle over tenure elongation between the Independent National Electoral Commission and the governors of Sokoto, Bayelsa, Adamawa, Cross River and Kogi states has finally been resolved, with the Supreme Court sacking the five governors from their offices.

Supreme Court Sacks Five State Governors

The five affected governors are Ibrahim Idris of Kogi state, Aliyu Wammako of Sokoto state, Murtala Nyako of Adamawa state, Liyel Imoke of Cross River state and Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa state.

The court had put the five governors in suspense at the end of the hearing of the case in November 2011 when it reserved its judgment indefinitely.

But the court today ruled in favour of the Independent National Electoral Commission, which had sought to reverse the decision of the Court of Appeal upholding the ruling of a lower court giving fresh term to the five governors whose elections in April 2007 were invalidated.

The implication of the ruling is that the speakers in the affected states would take over as acting governors for three months within which INEC will be expected to conduct fresh elections in the states.

INEC had insisted that the four-year tenure of the governors commenced on May 29, 2007 when they were first administered oaths of office and allegiance, arguing that the fact that their respective elections were did not render the oaths they took null and void.

INEC therefore pleaded the Apex Court to set-aside the lower court judgments that extended the tenure of the governors on the premise that it erroneously construed the provision of section 1999 constitution.

Supreme Court Dismisses CPC Appeal, Upholds President Jonathan’s Election

The Seven-man panel of the Supreme Court set up by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, has dismissed the appeal filed by the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) which sought to upturn the decision of the Court of Appeal which upheld the election of Goodluck Jonathan as winner of the April Presidential Poll.

President Jonathan

The final verdict delivered by the Apex Court Panel today laid to rest claims and counter claims by the CPC and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) on which party actually won the April election.

The panel maintained that the petition was bound to fail from the outset as there was no sufficient evidence to support allegations of the CPC.

In his response to the judgement, the presidential candidate of the CPC, Muhammadu Buhari condemned the judgement, saying the Supreme Court turned a blind eye to gross irregularities observed during the election.

The CPC, which came second behind the PDP in the Presidential Poll, had filed a petition at the presidential election petition tribunal alleging irregularities in the conduct of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and seeking cancellation of the poll to pave the way for a fresh one or declaration of the CPC candidate as winner.

The Court of Appeal in Abuja under Justice Kummai Bayang Akaahs had on November 1, 2012 dismissed the petition on the ground that it was baseless and lacking in merit.
The CPC had gone to the Supreme Court asking that the Appeal Court judgment be set aside, alleging that INEC did not substantially comply with the electoral act 2010.