How Supreme Court Dismissed Suit On Jonathan’s Eligibility
A suit challenging President Jonathan’s eligibility to contest for the 2015 presidential was today dismissed by the Supreme Court. The apex Court’s seven-man panel led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mahmud Mohammed, had during the proceeding of the suit persuaded, or practically forced Ardo’s counsel, Dr. Abiodun Amuda-Kannike(SAN), to withdraw the suit in respect of Ardo’s bid to appeal the substative matter.
It will be recalled that Ardo had gone to the Supreme Court to challenge the outcome of the Court Appeal’s ruling which refused to allow him join in a pending appeal on Jonathan’s eligibility to contest the 2015 presidential election. The seven-man panel had at the hearing of Ardo’s case Tuesday, seeks to explain misconception about the case shortly after counsels to pronounced their appearance.
Speaking in his summation, Justice Mohammed who faulted the basis for the filling of the appeal added that it was uncalled-for because, as he said, the suit has stalled the hearing of the main suit still pending before the Court of Appeal.
It was not only him who showed opposed the suit, other six members of the Panel also concurred with him as they all said that the appeal lacked merit, as they also warned Ardo’s lawyer, Amuda-Kannike that his integrity was at stake if he refused to heed to the warning that he should withdraw the appeal.
Meanwhile one of the Judges, Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, told Amuda-Kannike that Court of Appeal was right in dismissing Ardo’s application to join the suit as an appellant on the grounds that the leave of the court was not sought before applying to be joined.
Furthermore the CJN said; “We can’t wear the shoe of the Court of Appeal. We cannot sit down here and decide on the merit of the main appeal which is still pending before the Court of Appeal.
“We don’t have the jurisdiction to do so. The constitution does not give us such power.”
Urging Amuda-Kannike to withdraw the case, the CJN said; “Allow the Court of Appeal to decide on the substantive suit. All of us, including your client, cannot be parties in a suit.
“One person can file a suit on constitutional issue and the court will make a decision that will be beneficial to all.”
“You did not ask for leave to join rather you were asking for extension of time. The matter does not require many people to be joined as parties. Njoku’s interest can be used as every other person’s interest in the matter.
“Withdraw this appeal and allow the Court of Appeal to sit on the substantive appeal. You don’t need to be a party in the appeal.
“Nobody would have even prevented you from contesting, if really you are serious with your claims that you are interested.“I cannot see the relevance of this appeal any more, primary election has been concluded, you did not participate in the primary, even if you want to contest it, you cannot, because you did not participate in it.“It is clear; you are delaying the substantive appeal. The decision of the Court of Appeal is correct”, the court noted.
Moreso, during the proceeding, one of the panel members told Ardo’s counsel; “you want us to decide this case and give you judgement, then let me tell you that you will not win.”
As all efforts by Ardo’s lawyer to convince the Panel members to hear the appeal proved abortive, Amuda reluctantly withdrew the suit where upon it was stroke out.
In his reaction to the development, Dr. Ardo criticized the apex court for refusing to hear the matter. He said the Supreme court has failed the nation once again as it has no defense in its refusal to invoke Section 22 of the Supreme Court Act under which he came to the apex court. He said if the court could invoke section 22 in the Ladoja case, he saw no reason why it cannot do same in this case.
” This section has given the court all the powers it needed to wave all encumbering rules and listen to the matter. With the refusal to listen to my case and practically bludgeoning my lawyers to withdraw the suit, the Supreme Court has knowingly foisted on the country, rightfully or wrongfully, a fait accomli on the candidacy of President Goodluck Jonathan for the 2015 presidential election. It is not only sad that the apex court has raised the banner of technicalities in our adjudicating process to the highest level to the detriment of merit, but it is frightening also that along with it the prospect of ever getting justice from our law courts by ordinary Nigerians like me is virtually extinguished. If the Nigerian judiciary is the last hope of the common man, as they say, then woe betides the common man of this country”.