Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Legal moves by the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) to wrest power from President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, crashed as the Supreme Court struck out an appeal filed by the party and its presidential candidate, Ambrose Owuru, against the outcome of the February 23 presidential election.
For the second time, the apex court in a unanimous decision struck out the appeal wherein the petitioners had argued that the postponement of the presidential election from February 16 to February 23 by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was unlawful and an illegality.
However, the appeal was struck out
following the dramatic withdrawal of an application praying for restoration of the appeal to be heard afresh.
Owuru and HDP had sought leave of the court to allow them bring back their appeal which had been struck on due to errors of filing two notices of appeal in respect of one matter and against the provisions of the law.
But when the matter came up, yesterday, the attention of counsel to the appellants, Mr. Sunday Ezema, was drawn to section 285 (7) of the 1999 constitution and was asked whether the appeal has not become statute barred.
Although the counsel initially insisted the appeal could still be heard, he, however, made a dramatic U-turn and applied for withdrawal of the application.
Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, who led four other Justices in a short ruling, struck out the application.
Justice Ariwoola declined to award cost against the appellants as demanded by counsel to INEC, Yunus Usman and that of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Yakubu Maikyau.
Buhari’s counsel, Wole Olanipekun, did not ask for cost against the two appellants.
Olanipekun had objected to the application of the appellants to hear their appeal afresh on the grounds that time to do so had lapsed, became statute barred and that the court no longer had jurisdiction. 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 wasting precious time of the court.