By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja
The Supreme Court will on Friday November 15, give reasons behind the dismissal of appeal of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar which challenged the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari as winner of the February 23 presidential election.
The apex court had in a unanimous summary judgment delivered on October 30, dismissed the appeal filed by Atiku and the People’s Democratic Party Party
However, nearly two weeks after the judgment, the apex court on Wednesday notified lawyers to parties in the appeal that it has fixed Friday November 15, 2019, to make its reasons for dismissing the appeal known.
The notice to lawyers in the matter, a soft copy sighted by our correspondent , dated November 13, 2019, was signed by one Ibrahim Gold, a Registrar at the Supreme Court.
It reads, “IN THE SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA HOLDEN AT ABUJA.
SC 1211/2019: Atiku Abubakar & anor V. INEC & 2 Ors.
“TAKE NOTICE that the REASONS FOR THE JUDGEMENT delivered on Wednesday the 30th day of October 2019 in the above named Appeal will be listed before the Supreme Court of Nigeria on Friday the 15th day of November, 2019 at 9.00am.
“AND FURTHER TAKE NOTICE that in accordance with the Supreme Court Rules, this Notice is deemed sufficiently served on you if it is delivered on your telephone”.
The expected reasons to be offered will likely put to rest various speculations by lawyers and insinuations by politicians about the action of the apex court or even raise fresh ones.
It will be recalled that shortly after the judgment, lawyers to the appellants have faulted the nation’s electoral laws, blaming it for the loss of their clients.
In his immediate reaction to the verdict of the apex court, lead counsel to the appellants , Dr Livy Uzuokwu SAN, while expressing shock blamed the loss of their clients on the state of the nation’s law which according to him needed urgent amendment.
According to him, Atiku gave a good fight but lost to the Nigerian factor.
He said that the decision of the court especially the reasons in dismissing the appeal would be carefully studied when released and that comprehensive reaction would be made public.
In a similar vein another lawyer in the team of Atiku and PDP, Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN, also faulted the electoral laws particularly the period within which a petitioner must file his petition and present same for adjudication.
Ozekhome stated that the constitutional provisions within which a petition can be determined in totality is like a rock of Gibraltar that cannot be shifted or moved for now, no matter the grievances of any contestant in a rigged election.
The senior lawyer averred that it was good that a baby has been delivered today and not aborted, adding that whether the baby is malfunctioning is another thing for the history.
On his part counsel to Buhari, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, lauded the apex court for doing justice in the matter.
“We want to appreciate and commend the Supreme Court for rising to the occasion. That is the way it should be and the judiciary has done well.
“For us as counsel we have done our best, both for petitioners and respondents. And as lawyers this is how far we have gone and we cannot say more than that”, Olanipekun said.
Also counsel to the All Progressive Congress, Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN said with the verdict every issue surrounding the election of President Buhari has been put to rest.
“The chapters, paragraphs and lines having to do with the 2019 election especially the presidential aspects has been laid to rest until 2023.
“It has been a night of long knives, but we thank God that it has ended peacefully”.
Also counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission, Yunus Usman SAN, noted that the verdict has also rested the contentious issue of electronic voting, adding that once the Electoral Act is amended the commission would not hesitate to abide by it.