Again, the Supreme Court on Monday struck out an appeal filed by the National Secretary of the People Democratic Party (PDP) against the Senator Buruji Kashamu backed leadership of the party in Ogun State.
In a judgment read by Justice Mohammed Musa Dattijo yesterday in Abuja, said the appeal had become statute barred, lifeless and worthless having been overtaken by the 4th Alteration to the 1999 Constitution.
The party in the appeal had challenged the judgment of Justice Buba Ibrahim of the Federal High Court, Abuja, and upheld by the Court of Appeal which conferred recognition on the Dayo Adebayo led executive committee of the party in Ogun State as the authentic leadership.
At the resumed hearing, the court asked the appellant’s lawyer, Emeka Etiaba (SAN), whether the case was a pre-election matter to which he answered in the negative.
He said the case was about the leadership of the PDP in Ogun State and was not election related.
However, counsel to the Dayo Adebayo led group, Dr. Alex Izinyon SAN insisted that it was a pre-election matter because it relates to the nomination of candidates for the next general election.
He drew the court’s attention to ground 8 of the application filed on December 14, 2018, by the appellant for accelerated hearing of the appeal, where the appellant said the subject of the matter is to determine who are the rightful candidates of the appellant in Ogun State.
He also referred to paragraphs 11, 12 and 13 of the affidavit supporting the application where the appellant also said that the matter is about the determination of which of the two set of candidates that emanated from the two executive of the party should Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should accept.
He also had informed the court that the suit has become a mere academic exercise because it has been caught up with a provision of the 1999 Constitution that a pre-election suit must be filed within 14 days.
The Senior Counsel argued before a panel of 5 Justices of the Apex Court that the appeal having been filed out of time has become lifeless statute barred and worthless because it cannot confer any benefit on the appellant.
The court accepted the submissions by Izinyon and held that the case was a pre-election matter, on which the court no longer has jurisdiction in view of the effect of the 4th Alteration Act.
Although counsel to the appellant, Chief Etiaba made spirited efforts to sway the court to his own side with argument that the suit was not a pre-election matter, the Supreme Court refused to accept his argument.
Justice Dattijo in his ruling agreed with Izinyon that the appeal has become statute barred and lifeless and consequently struck it out.
The Apex Court held that the precious time of the court and energy of the justices cannot be dissipated on an appeal that will not confer any benefit on the appellant.
With the striking out of the appeal, the coast has become fully cleared for the participation of only the Dayo Adebayo led leadership in the 2019 general elections.
•Sourced from a Businessday report