Saturday, June 22, 2013

S’Court dismisses Ogboru’s appeal against Uduaghan


The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed an appeal in which the candidate of the Democratic Peoples Party in the April 2011 governorship election in Delta State, Chief Great Ogboru, asked it to set aside its earlier judgment which affirmed the victory of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan in the election.
A panel of justices of the apex court held that the appeal was an abuse of the court process, noting that  Ogboru’scounsel, Dr. Dickson Osuala, could not prove that his client’s former lawyer, Sebastian Hon, SAN, was not authorised to withdraw the appeal when the court struck it out on October 12, 2012.
The Supreme Court had in March 2012, upheld Uduaghan’s election, following the failure of the Court of Appeal to hear and deliver judgment on the governorship dispute within the 60 days stipulated in section 285 (7) and (8) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
The apex court held that the Appeal Court panel erred in law when it deferred reasons behind its judgment till a date outside the legally prescribed period for determination of such matter, stressing that the action rendered the verdict unconstitutional, null and void.
Dissatisfied with the decision of the apex court to strike out the suit, even after it declared the lower court’s verdict as a nullity, Ogboru again approached the court, asking it to reverse itself.
But Ogboru’s initial counsel, Hon, withdrew the appeal, after which it was struck out by the apex court on October 12, 2012.
Thereafter, Ogboru, through his new lawyer, Osuala, again approached theSupreme Court, claiming that he did not authorise Hon to withdraw the appeal.
Osuala also argued that the Supreme Court should not have struck out the appeal, having found that the decision of the Court of Appeal was a nullity, adding that, since the decision of the appellate court was a nullity, the apex court ought to hear the appeal on its merit, or remit it to the lower court for a fresh hearing.
But the panel of the Supreme Court, chaired by Justice Tanko Mohammed, had drawn Osuala’s attention to the fact that Hon had earlier withdrawn the same appeal, noting that the fresh appeal would amount to an abuse of court process.
However, Uduaghan’s counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, insisted that the appeal stands withdrawn, as Ogboru was bound by Hon’s initial withdrawal of the application.
The Supreme Court, in a judgment prepared by Justice Clara Ogunbiyi and read by Justice S. Galadima, dismissed the appeal and also awarded costs against Ogboru.

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