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Published On: Tue, Oct 29th, 2019

Again, S/Court strikes out HDP’s appeal against Buhari’s election

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By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja

The Supreme Court has again struck out a fresh appeal filed by the Hope Democratic Party HDP and its Presidential candidate, Ambrose Owuru challenging the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari as winner of the February 23 presidential election.
This is following a dramatic withdrawal of the application by HDP, praying for restoration of the appeal to be heard afresh.
The party and its presidential candidate, Owuru, had sought for leave of the court to allow them bring back their appeal to which had been struck on due to errors of filling two notices of appeal in respect of one matter and against the provisions of the law.
When the matter came up on yesterday, (Monday)
The four-man panel of justices led by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola drew the attention of counsel to the appellants Mr. Sunday Ezema to section 285 (7) of the 1999 constitution and was asked whether the appeal has not become statute barred.
The counsel initially insisted the appeal can still be heard, but, however, made a dramatic u-turn and applied for withdrawal of the application.
In a short ruling, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola struck out the application.
Justice Ariwoola declined to award cost against the appellants as demanded by counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC Yunus Usman SAN and that of the All Progressives Congress APC Yakubu Maikyau SAN.
Buhari’s counsel Wole Olanipekun SAN did not ask for cost against the two appellants.
Olanipekun had objected to the application of the appellants to hear their appeal afresh on the grounds that time to do so had lapsed, became statute barred and that the count no longer has jurisdiction.
He argued that the appellants were not fair to the court by engaging it ‘in a non justiciable application that will serve no purpose other than wasting precious time of the court.
The position was adopted by counsel to INEC and APC but with demand for substantial cost against the appellants for wasting time of the court with frivolous application.
Justice Ariwoola in the ruling agreed that the application of the appellants had been caught up by section 285 of the 1999 constitution and as such no longer has life to maintain it
HDP had filed a fresh motion to challenge the way and manners its appeal against President Buhari’s election was determined and struck out on what it termed technicality rather than merit of law.
The party in the new motion had asked the apex court to reverse itself in the ruling delivered on October 3 and restore the appeal for fresh heading on merit rather than on technicality of filing two notices of appeal together in one matter.

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