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Published On: Tue, Dec 16th, 2014

Jonathan eligibility: Supreme Court dismisses appeal

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By A’isha Biola Raji

The Supreme Court ‎yesterday dismissed the appeal brought by a chieftain of Peoples Democratic Party PDP, Umar Ardo challenging the decision of the Court of Appeal which stopped him from joining in the appeal challenging President Goodluck Jonathan’s eligibility to re-contest in 2015.

The dismissal was follow up to an oral application moved by counsel to Ardo, Dr. A Amuda Kannike SAN seeking to withdraw the appeal.

However, none of the parties objected to the application.

In dismissing the appeal, the panel of seven justices led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mohammed Mahmud said the appellant has ‎no business joining in the appeal challenging Jonathan’s eligibility, as no law stopped him from participating in the just concluded convention of the party.

It would however be recalled that, a Cyriacus Njoku had approached an Abuja High Court to stop Jonathan from re-contesting in 2015.

The then trial judge, Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi had dismissed the suit on ground that the court lacked jurisdiction concerning the case.

Njoku had approached the Court of Appeal to challenge the decision of the lower court.

Umar Ardo had sought to join at the appeal court but was denied on ground that he did not show a logical interest that could have warranted his joinder.

The appeal court also noted then that he was not a party at the lower court; hence he could not join in the appeal.

Ardo, who was not satisfied had also approached the Supreme Court to challenge the decision.

When the matter came up yesterday, the CJN noted that the substantive appeal was still pending before the Court of Appeal and that what is before the apex court is an interlocutory appeal.

The CJN said, “You are appealing against the ruling of the Court of Appeal that refused to join you. We cannot sit down here and step into the shoes of the Court of Appeal.”

The court further noted that Ardo is guilty of stalling substantive appeal adding that the apex court has no power to sit over an appeal pending at the court of appeal.

“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 anymore, 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.

Reacting to the ruling, counsel to Jonathan, Okeaya-Inneh stated that the law is clear and the apex court had confirmed such.

Also reacting, PDP legal adviser, Victor Kwon said that the apex court had shown the appellant that his appeal is a waste of time.

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