The Supreme Court has fixed Friday November 15 to explain to Nigerians and the international community its reasons for the dismissal of appeal by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar challenging the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari as winner of the February 23, presidential election.
Recall that the apex court had in a unanimous summary judgment delivered on October 30, dismissed the appeal filed by Atiku and the People’s Democratic Party Party
Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad while delivering the summary judgment had announced that the court would later offer its reasons to the general public on why it dismissed the appeal the way it did.
Atiku and PDP had in their joint appeal filed in September, challenged the entire judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal which had affirmed the election of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The final court in the land dismissed the appeal in less than one hour it was heard by its 7-member panel of Justices.
It affirmed, “Having gone through the briefs for over two weeks we have come to the conclusion that this appeal lacks merit. This appeal is hereby dismissed. Reason will be given at a date to be communicated to parties”, the CJN who presided over the appeal had held.
However, nearly two weeks after the judgment, the apex court on Wednesday notified lawyers to parties in the appeal that it has fixed Friday November 15, to make known its reasons for dismissing the appeal.
The notice to lawyers in the matter, a soft copy sighted by DAILY POST dated November 13, was signed by Ibrahim Gold, a Registrar at the Supreme Court.
It reads, “IN THE SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA HOLDEN AT ABUJA.
SC 1211/2019: Atiku Abubakar & anor V. INEC & 2 Ors.
“TAKE NOTICE that the REASONS FOR THE JUDGEMENT delivered on Wednesday the 30th day of October 2019 in the above named Appeal will be listed before the Supreme Court of Nigeria on Friday the 15th day of November, 2019 at 9.00am.
“AND FURTHER TAKE NOTICE that in accordance with the Supreme Court Rules, this Notice is deemed sufficiently served on you if it is delivered on your telephone”.
The expected reasons to be offered will likely put to rest various speculations by lawyers and insinuations by politicians about the action of the apex court or even raise fresh ones.
It will be recalled that shortly after the judgment, lawyers to the appellants have faulted the nation’s electoral laws, blaming it for the loss of their clients.
In his immediate reaction to the verdict of the apex court, lead counsel to the appellants , Dr Livy Uzuokwu SAN, while expressing shock blamed the loss of their clients on the state of the nation’s law which according to him needed urgent amendment.
According to him, Atiku gave a good fight but lost to the Nigerian factor.
He said that the decision of the court especially the reasons in dismissing the appeal would be carefully studied when released and that comprehensive reaction would be made public.
“I don’t want to speculate until they give their reasons. No reason has been given, we have done our best, our clients have done their best and the rest is for Nigerians.
“But let me say this, unless something drastically is done to electoral jurisprudence in this country there will be problem because it is now becoming obvious that petitioners will always find it difficult to prosecute their cases. But all said until they give their reasons, we will take it up from there”, Uzuokwu said.
In a similar vein another lawyer in the team of Atiku and PDP, Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN, also faulted the electoral laws particularly the period within which a petitioner must file his petition and present same for adjudication.
Ozekhome stated that the constitutional provisions within which a petition can be determined in totality is like a rock of Gibraltar that cannot be shifted or moved for now, no matter the grievances of any contestant in a rigged election.
The senior lawyer averred that it was good that a baby has been delivered today and not aborted, adding that whether the baby is malfunctioning is another thing for the history.
“What manner of baby it is, what ingredients make up the being of the baby we do not know yet, those are the reason the apex court said they will tell Nigerians and the rest of the world for dismissing this appeal as lacking in merit.
“Electoral jurisprudence has been there, election petition are suogeneris (time bound), as far as we are concerned, we have done our best under the strangulating regime of electoral jurisprudence which not only places undue burdens on the petitioners but also time lines the period within which such burden must be discharged with the Supreme Court itself saying that the time lag provided by the constitution is like the rock of Gibraltar that cannot be moved”, he said.
According to the senior lawyer, the law is so made that while you are being beaten you are not allowed to cry.
He said that the law should be made to restore the confidence of people so that, “when they vote their votes would not only be counted but that such votes must also count.
On his part counsel to Buhari, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, lauded the apex court for doing justice in the matter.
“We want to appreciate and commend the Supreme Court for rising to the occasion. That is the way it should be and the judiciary has done well.
“For us as counsel we have done our best, both for petitioners and respondents. And as lawyers this is how far we have gone and we cannot say more than that”, Olanipekun said.
Also counsel to the All Progressive Congress, Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN said with the verdict every issue surrounding the election of President Buhari has been put to rest.
“The chapters, paragraphs and lines having to do with the 2019 election especially the presidential aspects has been laid to rest until 2023.
“It has been a night of long knives, but we thank God that it has ended peacefully”.
Also counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission, Yunus Usman SAN, noted that the verdict has also rested the contentious issue of electronic voting, adding that once the Electoral Act is amended the commission would not hesitate to abide by it.
He said, “I am very happy and we should thank God that we have the type of judges we have at the Supreme Court, and this server issue, thank God it has been laid to rest.
“INEC has never said it has no server but this particular server they are claiming www.factdontlienigeria.com, we say INEC does not have that type of server and they said it was through that server that results were transmitted”.
Usman said even if they were right INEC has no power to transmit election results electronically until the Electoral Act is amended.
“If the act is amended then INEC will operate with the new law”, he said.
The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal had on September 11, dismissed the petition of Atiku and PDP against the election of Buhari on the grounds that the petitioners failed to substantiate the allegations made in their petition.
Buhari Is Nigeria’s Most Democratic President – Gov. Bello
Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, on Thursday described President Muhammadu Buhari as the most democratic leader the country has ever produced.
Bello also faulted the position of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major- Gen. Babagana Monguno retd), who reportedly scored low the November 16 governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States.
Speaking with State House correspondents after meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the governor said President Buhari had “democratized governance.”
Bello was reacting to the Wednesday editorial of the Punch Newspapers which described the President as a dictator without respect for human rights and rule of law.
The governor said: “Mr. President is the most democratic President I have ever seen. This is the first time we are seeing a former military head of state that is so democratic to the extent of allowing things happening in his home front to be democratized not to talk of things happening in the country.
“Whoever is tagging him to be a dictator; I think that person wished to be a dictator himself, not Mr. President.”
On the political crisis that has brought division among different ethnic groups in the state, he said that he was making frantic efforts to reconcile everyone.
“Kogi State as you know was slightly divided before now but upon assumption of office and until the last general elections, I have been making every effort to ensure that there is reconciliation and bringing everybody on board.
“That was what resulted in our massive victory in the last general election. Leaders and stakeholders of the state have been called upon to join in the new direction administration, so we are moving on perfectly.”
On the statement credited to the NSA on the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa, he said Monguno was quoted out of context.
Bello said: “I think Mr. NSA, Gen. Monguno must have been quoted out of context. I can say that because the last general elections reflected the wishes of the people.”
Fani-Kayode Reacts To Buhari’s ‘No Visa Policy’
Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, on Thursday, reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s announcement of visa on arrival for citizens of African countries.
Buhari spoke on Wednesday at the opening session of the ongoing Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development in Africa in Egypt.
He said: “We in Nigeria have already taken the strategic decision to bring down barriers that have hindered the free movement of our people within the continent by introducing the issuance of a visa at the point of entry into Nigeria to all persons holding passports of African countries with effect from January 2020.”
But Fani-Kayode in a statement said the Fulanis of North and West Africa have finally been given what they wanted all along.
“They will flood Nigeria in their millions and within 5 years our demographics will change forever”, the former presidential aide noted. Simply put, visa-free policy for Africans to come into Nigeria is a shameless and subtle attempt to alter the racial and religious demographics of our country and open our front door for mass Fulani, Berber, Taureg and Arab migration into our shores.
“By the time they come here from all over north and west Africa and settle down, we the indigenous people of Nigeria will be a tiny minority. The next thing they will do is to implement RUGA to the letter and take our land and insist on sharia law being implemented all over the country. It is a dangerous, self-serving and self-seeking policy that will ultimately result in great conflict, carnage, racial and religious strife, and total catastrophe.
“In an attempt to implement an ancient agenda of Fulani hegemony and turn us into a conquered and enslaved people Buhari, his born to rule co-travellers and their vast legion of slavish sympathisers and supporters are likely to set Nigeria on fire.
“You will not believe me now just as you did not believe me when I warned about the true nature of Buhari in 2015 and the grave consequences of electing him as President. Yet my words have proved to be prophetic and just as I have been vindicated on Buhari I shall be vindicated on this matter of the grave and dangerous consequences of visa-free mass migration by vagrant, stateless and nomadic Africans into our shores.
“With this irresponsible, unpatriotic, dangerous and self-serving policy, I repeat, we are playing with fire and sitting on a keg of gunpowder which will eventually explode. It will be the final nail in the coffin of a united Nigeria. May God deliver us from the coming evil.”
Fani-Kayode Cautions Buhari Over Alleged Plot To Remove Oyo Governor, Makinde
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, Femi Fani-Kayode, has told President Muhammadu Buhari not to meddle with the affairs of Oyo State.
According to the former minister of aviation, the biggest mistake President Buhari will make is to either bribe or coerce the Supreme Court into nullifying the election that brought Governor Seyi Makinde to power.
This statement came after the PDP in South West raised allegations that the president was planning to upturn the victory of Governor Makinde at the Supreme Court.
This was said in a meeting, which was attended by top PDP members like the Deputy National Chairman, Yemi Akinwonmi; the Vice Chairman, North West, Senator Ibrahim Kazaure; National Vice Chairman, South West, Dr. Eddy Olafeso; and Dr. Doyin Okupe.In a tweet yesterday, the former minister advised the president not to tread that dangerous path, as it would result in nothing but calamity, chaos and disaster.