August 10, 2020

Assault By Politicians: Group Urge Supreme Court To Remain Steadfast/ Undaunte

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Following unwarranted attacks and assault by politicians over some judgements of the Supreme a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) Patriots For the Advancement Of Peace and Social Development has charge the Justices of the apex court to remain steadfast and undaunted in the dispensation of justice no matter whose oz is gored.

In statement in Abuja on Saturday the group commended the Supreme Court Justices for their courage in the discharge of their duties with the barrage of cases coming up for review before the court noting that the decision of the court remains final.

According to the statement signed by its Executive Director Alhaji Sani Abdulahi Shinkafi “ with deepest respect, My Lords,
On May 24 2019, Your Lordships did a thorough housekeeping in Zamfara State. Your Lordships upheldthe decisions of the lower Courts to the effect that the All Progressives Congress (APC) did not nominate candidates for the House of Assembly, National Assembly and Governorship elections in Zamfara State in the 2019 general elections. Consequently, the purportedly elected candidates of APC in ZamfaraState were swept into the abyss of oblivion. It was a landmark judgment that elevated the tenets of our democracy above unbridled partisan politics.

“The judgment elevated the provisions of Section 87 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) above the reckless shenanigans of the political class. For enriching Nigeria’s jurisprudence and deepening our democracyregarding the acute necessity of conducting primary elections; the Supreme Court deserve enormous commendation, not condemnation, over the Zamfaradecision of May 24 2019.

Shinkafi stated that “the year 2020 has seen Your Lordships, in two landmark judgments, yank the seat off the purportedly elected Governors of Imo and Bayelsa States.
The Imo judgment is significant because it installed as Governor the candidate of APC who came 4th in the results purportedly declared by INEC. However, the appeal before Your Lordships revealed to Nigerians and the world at large that 388 Polling Units results were unlawfully excluded and suppressed by INEC in a bid to declare PDP and its candidate winner of the election. Your Lordships dutifully collated these 388 Polling Units results and rightfully returned the APC and Senator Hope Uzodimma as winner of the election. Since then, all hell has broken loose.

“Aggrieved PDP politicians have held rallies and protests in streets, embassies and market places. Even the residence of Your Lordships have not been spared. The Supreme Court as a hallowed institution, ably manned by Your Lorships, has been ridiculed and abused, simply because a politician lost his seat. A tenured seat of merely 4 years.The Bayelsa judgment arose from a pre-election matter. The trial Federal High Court nullified the joint ticket of the APC Governorship and Deputy Governorship candidates because the Deputy presented forged certificates. Being a joint ticket as contemplated by Section 187 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), it is elementary that any virus that afflicted the eligibility and nomination of the Deputy Governorship candidate will also blight his Principal’s eligibility and nomination. It is very straightforward and not complicated in any manner” he added.

“Why will it therefore astonish anyone that Your Lordships affirmed the decision of the trial Federal High Court? Your Lordships’ consequential orders stemmed from the fact that Governorship election has taken place in BayelsaState, while the appeal was pending before Your Lordships. Hence, it is pertinent that consequential orders must follow in order to give full effect to Your Lordships’ decision. We humbly seize this opportunity to specially commend Your Lordships for the Zamfara, Imo and Bayelsa landmark and courageous decisions. Your Lordships have not only enriched our jurisprudence, Your Lordships have also further deepened our democracy” he added.

Shinkafi said “We urge Your Lordships to remain steadfast, stoic and undaunted as the apex and policy Court of the nation. The orchestrated attempt by politicians to review Your Lordships’ decision in Zamfara, Imo and Bayelsa is a knee-jerk reaction propelled by desperation and tomfoolery. It is quite sad and unfortunate that this is the 2nd attempt to review the Zamfara decision. We understand that on July 22 2019, Your Lordships struck out the Application for Review filed by APC and its candidates in Zamfara. Why will a 3rd Application for Review be filed again over the Zamfara decision?

“Why will Your Lordships permit litigants to have a 2ndand 3rd bite at the proverbial cheery? Has the age long principle that there must be an end to litigation no longer in force? The Latin maxim is famous: Interest Reipublicae ut sit finis litium – There must, in the public interest, be an end to litigation. We urge Your Lordships to remain resolute as a policy Court in seeing that there is indeed an end to litigation. If all litigants who lost out before Your Lordships are to be permitted to re-litigate their appeals, under the euphemism of APPLICATION FOR REVIEW, then convicts whose death penalties and terms of imprisonments have been affirmed by Your Lordship should take the front seat. The verdicts against them are matters of life and death” he added.

Shinkafi stated that “their APPPLICATION FOR REVIEW should take priority over that of politicians, whose terms of office is merely 4 years. We are delighted that the purported Application to review Bayelsa judgment bit the dust on February 26 2020. We thank Your Lordships immensely for keeping Your Judicial feet on the ground. While dismissing the Application to review Bayelsa judgment and stamping out the rascality of the political class, Your Lordships held thus:
“There must be an end to litigation. Section 235 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, makes it clear that “no appeal shall lie to any other body from any determination of the Supreme Court.” Thus, this is the final Court of the land, and it is well settled that the decisions of this Court are final…The decision of this Court in Appeal No. SC.1/2020 is final for all ages; it is final in the real sense of the word – FINAL; and no force on Earth can get this Court to shift from its decision regarding Bayelsa State Pre-Election Appeal No. SC.1/2020. To do otherwise, is to open a floodgate of litigation on Appeals that have already been settled by this Court. There is even no guarantee that if these two Applications are granted, the other side will not come with a fresh Application to review the Ruling on the ground that this Court did not consider certain aspects of the arguments in its Ruling. There would be no end in sight.”

“We commend Your Lordships for the erudite pronouncement above. They are Words on a Marble. We do hope that the Applicants in the Imo and Zamfara application for Review will be guided by the approve pronouncement and promptly withdraw their Applications. Your Lordships ought to be spared the trauma of having to write another Ruling with tears in your eyes. Should the Applicants not withdraw the Imo and Zamfara Applications for Review, we humbly encourage Your Lordships to increase the punitivecosts awarded against Counsel. Such award of punitive costs should be accompanied with a stipulation of a deadline within which it must be paid. Proof of payment should also be filed in the Supreme Court. We say so because we understand that these punitive costs are seldom paid.

“Your Lordships’ tears must not be shed in vain. Nigerians are in firm solidarity with Your Lordships. Nigerians are appalled and deeply saddened that the time has come when desperate politicians and their “Very Senior” Counsel will move the Supreme Court to the brink, to the extent of having Your Lordships hold as follows in the Bayelsa Review Application:
“As it is, I cannot believe, and I say this with tears in my eyes. I cannot believe that in my lifetime I would see very senior members of the Bar bring Applications of this nature to this Court, which are aimed at desecrating the sanctity of this Court; violating the well-known principle that the decisions of this Court are final; and destroying the esteem, with which this Court is held.”
We deeply and sincerely commiserate with Your Lordships. We also appreciate that the guiding principles under which Your Lordships’ previous decisions may be reviewed are well documented. Greater majority of Nigerians are aware that the Zamfara, Imo and Bayelsa decisions did not meet any of the requirements for review.
Should Your Lordships review and change the Zamfaraand Imo decisions, by straying outside the established and narrow principles for so doing; the catastrophic consequences will be unimaginable. As Your Lordships rightly predicted while dismissing the BayelsaApplication for Review, “There would be no end in sight” for our judicial process.

“Our Judiciary is already groaning under an enormous workload, amidst poor facilities and meagre resources. What will then happen if Your Lordships throw the floodgates open, proclaiming that there is no more end to litigation?

“My Lords, not only that all unsuccessful litigants of yesteryears will stampede back to the Supreme Court for a review; the Court of Appeal will also suffocate under the expected avalanche of Applications for Review arising from National Assembly and State House of Assembly election petition appeals which various divisions of the Court of Appeal have determined as the final Court. In the same vein, Your Lordships would have, by Judicial Legislation:
i. Deleted Section 235 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which stipulated that decisions of the Supreme Court shall be final.
ii. Deleted Section 285 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which drew an essential timetable for determining pre-election and post-election matters.
May that day never happen, My Lords” he declared.

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