Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Supreme Court, yesterday, struck out the appeal filed by the presidential candidate of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP), Chief Ambrose Owuru, against the election of President Muhammadu Buhari.
In a unanimous judgment, the apex court predicated its decision 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.
Justice Mary Peter-Odili, who read the lead judgment, 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.
She upheld the argument of Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) as contained in the preliminary objections to the effect that the appellants were on a mission to misdirect 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, which upheld the preliminary objections of the three respondents, held 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, Chief 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.