One month after the Supreme Court affirmed the victory of President Bola Tinubu in the February 25 election, Labour Party (LP) yesterday sounded the alarm that the party and its standard bearer, Peter Obi are yet to receive the Certified True Copy of the verdict.
This was as it claimed that the apex court did not deliver a judgment on Obi’s case against Tinubu as their presidential candidate’s appeal is markedly different from that of the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar. LP described the situation as embarrassing and depressing.
Prime Business Africa recalls that the Supreme Court had on October 26 ended the 171-day legal tussle over the controversial presidential poll by dismissing the appeals filed by Obi and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart, Atiku Abubakar.
The lead judgment was delivered by the Chairman of the seven-man panel, Justice Inyang Okoro, with Justices Uwani Aji, Mohammed Garba, Ibrahim Saulawa, Adamu Jauro, Abubakar Tijjani, and Emmanuel Agim, agreeing with the lead judgment dismissing Atiku and Obi’s appeals.
The apex court ruled that Tinubu scored the majority of lawful votes cast and that Atiku did not produce alternative results of the presidential election that showed he won majority of lawful votes cast to dismiss the one declared by electoral body INEC.
The court also held that the outcome of the 2023 presidential election was unaffected by the failure of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to post the election results on the INEC Result Viewing Portal in real time.
The Supreme Court also agreed with the Court of Appeal that the Federal Capital Territory is no different from the other states and failure to get 25 per cent in the FCT makes no difference in the results.
In dealing with the LP’s presidential candidate on the issue of double nomination of Vice-President Kashim Shettima, the court declared in a unanimous decision that it had already addressed the only distinct issue in Obi’s appeal—the claim that Kashim Shettima was nominated for vice president and senator in the February election—and could not be reopened.
“As for issue Number 4 which has to do with double nomination which was not in Atiku’s appeal, it is the view of this court that this issue having been dealt with by this court, this court cannot allow the matter to be re-litigated in this very court. There must be an end to litigation.
“For us to sit down now and talk about when this man resigned or did not resign when they did fresh primaries to replace him which we have done before, we are not going to do this again.
“This matter ought not to have come in. When this matter was pending at the trial court, this court delivered that judgment. If you read the judgment of the lower court, they mentioned that the Supreme Court has settled this matter and that should have been the end.
“You now bring this issue of double nomination for us to sit on it and write another judgment, this is not how it should be. This appeal lacks merit and is hereby dismissed,” Justice Okoro held.
The Supreme Court also refused to consider the academic records of the ex-Lagos governor obtained from the Chicago State University, which Atiku sought to tender as fresh evidence to prove his allegation of certificate forgery against Tinubu.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, LP National Secretary, Umar Farouk, lamented that they have yet to receive the CTC, stressing that the party found the position taken by the apex court regarding the judgment in her appeal “extraordinary, terribly shocking, most unprecedented and unacceptable”.
The Labour Party stated that it had out of an abundance of caution, applied to the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court through a letter dated 27th of October, 2023, for the certified true copy of the judgment in the LP appeal. It added that there was a reminder through another letter on 8th of November, 2023. However, to date, the requests have been ignored.
“The LP is also aware that by the provision of Section 294(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), every court established under the Constitution (which necessarily includes the Supreme Court) has a duty to furnish all parties to the cause or matter determined with duly authenticated copies of the decision within seven days of the delivery thereof. The Supreme Court has failed to do this in the present appeal.
“In conclusion, the LP finds it very embarrassing and depressing that the Supreme Court would, after hearing the appeal by our party, refuse to deliver any judgment and also fail to avail our party of any copy of whatever it considers to be its decision. This constitutes an unmitigated breach of the constitutional right of LP and her candidate to a fair hearing,” the statement read in part.
Farouk continued that the only area where the relevant parties agreed in the two appeals was 25 per cent votes in Abuja, stressing that the other issues submitted to the Supreme Court for determination in the two appeals differed remarkably.
The LP secretary also expressed regret that the court failed to give a second thought to the grounds for appeal they raised such as the forfeiture of funds being proceeds of narcotics trafficking contained in the LP petition; double nomination of the 3rd Respondent (who was not even a party in the PDP petition) and failure to comply with the mandatory requirement of Section 73(2) of the Electoral Act, 2022, the consequence of which allegedly renders the election invalid.
Other sources of concerns Farouk raised was the Supreme Court’s refusal to consider the implication of the certified true copies of 18,123 blurred and unreadable polling unit result sheets they tendered in court after they were downloaded from the result viewing portal and the ones issued to the party and its candidate by INEC.