Dissenting Supreme Court judge in Imo election case maintains position in Zamfara’s

NJC: Supreme Court of Nigeria (judge)
Supreme Court of Nigeria

A Supeme Court ruling on Zamfara State election on Friday, was rejected by one justice who argued that the top court has the power to overrule itself.

Justice Centus Nweze, who disagreed with the majority ruling of his six colleagues, said this in his minority judgement.

Mr Nweze, on Friday, gave a dissenting judgement, asking the apex court to review its earlier order which nullified the victory of the candidates of the All Progressive Congress (APC) at the 2019 general elections held in Zamfara State.

Mr Nweze gave a similar ruling in the Imo governorship case. Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party had asked the court to set aside its judgement that declared Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governor of Imo State.

While majority ruling rejected his argument, Mr Nweze in a dissenting judgement held that the court can overrule it’s earlier decision, since the court has done so in the past.

In Zamfara’s case, Mr Nweze insisted that the court has reviewed its decision before and should be bold enough to admit where there are errors that ought to be rectified.

The fresh application before the apex court was brought by a faction of the APC led by a former governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari.

The Supreme Court had, on May 24, ruled that the APC did not conduct valid primaries in the build-up to the 2019 general elections in Zamfara.

The court validated the judgement of the Court of Appeal, Sokoto Division, which ruled that no valid primaries were conducted by the APC in Zamfara State.

The court in a unanimous judgement by a five-member panel decided that a party that had no valid candidate cannot be said to have emerged winner of the elections.

In an appeal brought by the APC, the court ruled against the appellant and ordered a fine of N10 million against the APC.

It then declared the first runners-up in the 2019 general elections in the state as the winners of all the offices earlier declared to have been won by the APC and its candidates.

‘No jurisdiction’

Maintaining its stand, the apex court dismissed the application asking it to reverse its earlier decision.

Dismissing the appeal on Friday, the court, led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Mohammed, held that the apex court lacked the jurisdiction to review its own judgement.

But in his dissenting judgment, Justice Nweze held that a judgement or order can be set aside on merit.

Mr Nweze said the court ought to have reviewed the judgement by setting aside the consequential order which made the PDP the ultimate beneficiary of the intra-party crisis in the state.

He held that the consequential order was made in error because the PDP candidate in the last general elections in Zamfara State was not a party in the appeal and ought not have benefited.

Justice Nweze further held that, if the court believes it is not a Father Christmas, it ought not to make the consequential order which was grounded on reliefs.

He added that the apex court has reviewed its decision before and should be bold enough to admit where there are errors that ought to be rectified.

“The consequential order complained against by the applicant has no bearing with the appeal brought by the APC and it hereby set aside, having been made in error, ”

“It is in the interest of justice that I set aside the consequential order of this court.

“I hereby enter an order setting aside the said consequential order in the judgement in APC and Marafa.”

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