Supreme Court strikes out HDP’s suit challenging Buhari’s election

The Supreme Court on Thursday struck out the appeal filed by Ambrose Owuru the candidate of the Hope Democratic Party, challenging the election of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The appeal was struck out 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.

In the unanimous decision read by Justice Mary Peter-Odili, the five-member panel of Justices upheld the objection raised by the respondents in the suit and subsequently dismissed the appeal.

Justice Odili upheld the argument of Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, that the two appellants embarked on a journey aimed at misdirecting 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 having upheld the preliminary objections of the three respondents to the appeal said that the HDP’s appeal has nothing to stand upon and consequently struck out the appeal.

The panel held that it was wrong for the appellants to have filed two notices of appeal and simultaneously used the two to argue their case even when they were within the time allowed by law to file a proper notice of appeal.

Odili held that the two appellants did not appeal the ruling of the tribunal which declared their petition incompetent and an abuse of court process, and struck it out but chose to appeal against the substantive judgment on the main petition which was delivered by the tribunal, “out of abundant caution.”

With the failure of the appellants to appeal against the ruling of the tribunal on the respondents’ objections to the petition, Justice Odili held that their appeal against the substantive judgment of the tribunal has no legs to stand upon.

Owuru and HDP had dragged the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to the apex Court over the dismissal of their petition challenging the declaration of Buhari as the winner of the presidential election.

The court in striking out the suit further held that failure of the appellants to appeal the August 22 ruling of the tribunal which had struck out their petition for being incompetent was fatal to their appeal.

(NAN)

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