A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Wole Olanipekun, says he did no wrong in asking the Supreme Court to review its judgement that sacked David Lyon as governor-elect of Bayelsa State.
Mr Olanipekun and another senior lawyer, Afe Babalola, led the legal team that filed an application for the review of the judgment delivered on February 13.
Both senior lawyers were ordered by the Supreme Court to pay N10 million each to each of the respondents for filing such an application.
A five-member panel of the apex court led by Mary Odili, had on February 13, nullified the election of Mr Lyon on the grounds that his deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, presented false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in aid of his qualification for the November 16 governorship election in the state.
The apex court, in the judgement delivered by Ejembi Eko, consequently ordered INEC to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Messrs Lyon and Degi-Eremienyo.
The court also ordered that INEC should immediately declare the party with the highest number of lawful votes and geographical spread the winner of the election.
Delivering judgement in the said application filed by Mr Olanipekun, a seven-member panel of the apex court in a unanimous decision, led by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, held that the application by the APC and Mr Lyon lacks merit and that the court lacks jurisdiction to review its own judgement.
Reading the lead judgement, Justice Amina Augie said the application was an invitation for the apex court to sit in appeal on its earlier judgment in violation of the Constitution.
She held that it would amount to violating the finality of its judgment if the applications were granted.
She said granting the applications would open a floodgate for the review of decisions of the Supreme Court.
“There must be an end to litigation,” she said, adding, “the decision of the Supreme Court is final for ages in a matter” and only legislation could change it.
She said with tears in her eyes, she regretted that “very senior” lawyers were responsible for filing the applications.
“No force on earth can force the court to change its decision,” she said.
Apart from the award against the senior lawyers, Justice Augie further awarded the cost of N10 million each against the first, second and third applicants, to be paid to the first, second and third respondents.
Reacting to the recent judgment of the apex court, Mr Olanipekun said he had done nothing wrong by asking for a review.
The senior lawyer said this on Sunday, in Ikere, Ekiti State, during the donation of a 1,600-capacity church auditorium to Saint Peter’s Anglican Church.
He further added that he would elaborate more on the ruling at the appropriate time.
According to Mr Olanipekun, “I have never regretted any of my actions since I started my legal practice because I always abide by the ethics of the job.
“The truth about the matter will be revealed soon, but I have the conviction that I have done no wrong because this is a profession I love so much.
“I saw the legal profession as a ministry. I am convinced and knew that what we did was within the best tradition in law. I can tell anyone about this.
“But I will speak about the whole thing at the appropriate time, I won’t say more than that now.”
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