…Says Electoral matters should end in Supreme Court…
…Calls on NJC to look into the Justices of the Court of Appeal that decided Plateau cases…
Constitutional Lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Prof. Mike Ozekhome (SAN) has described the episode that unfolded at the Supreme Court as judicial ‘Koboko” on the Appellate Court.
The supreme court on Friday “spared no words” in criticising some of the rulings of the appeal court on governorship election disputes.
He said the apex court used judicial “koboko”(a flexible whip made with cow skin or horsetail) to “flog” the appeal court while giving verdicts on the matters.
Delivering judgment on eight governorship election cases the supreme court overturned the decisions of the appeal court in Kano, Plateau and Zamfara.
Speaking on Saturday in an interview with Arise TV, Ozekhome said although he believes that many cases should not get to the supreme court, the appeal court’s sack of Plateau lawmakers could be examined by the apex court.
Recall that in November 2023, a court of appeal sitting in Abuja sacked elected members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Plateau assembly.
The appeal court ruled that the “PDP structure in Plateau collapsed since 2020”, and as such, the party cannot sponsor any candidate to contest an election.
Ozekhome said the judgement of the court of appeal was a “miscarriage of justice”.
“I was one of those who felt like the supreme court should not be bothered with too many of these; the house of assembly, house of representative, and senate (cases) could end at the appeal level, but from what we have seen particularly in the Plateau scenario, there was a great miscarriage of justice,” he said.
“The supreme court today spared no words, they used legal and judicial koboko (cane) to flog the court of appeal for what they termed miscarriage of justice, perverse judgments.
“In many of the cases, particularly the Plateau state, two senators’ positions were reversed, three house of representative were reversed, and 11 house of assembly were reversed. If all these cases had gone to the supreme court, all of them would have their seats retained.
“On what grounds were they reversed? The court of appeal surprisingly was saying the PDP had no structure in Plateau state. When did PDP structure, membership of a political party, nomination, congresses, and primaries become part and parcel of matters that the court can have jurisdiction?
“Today, the supreme court said not even the election tribunal has jurisdiction, let alone the court of appeal. And they voided the decision of the governorship. They would also have voided the decision on the two senatorial candidates, three house of representatives, and the 11 house of assembly.
“Injustice has been done to them. What is the remedy now? That is why I am going to review my stance with all respect, humility as a constitutional lawyer, to say that, yes, these cases should go to the supreme court as a final court of the land.”
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