Supreme Court dismisses appeals filled by PDP and its candidate against APC and its candidate

Sun, Feb 12, 2023
By editor
4 MIN READ

Judiciary

THE Supreme Court, Abuja, in appeal Nos. SC/CV/113/2023 AND SC/CV/114/2023, presided over by Hon. Justice Inyang Okoro, JSC, who led 4 other Justices of the apex court, on the 9th of February, 2022, dismissed the two appeals filed by the PDP and its candidate for the Yala II Constituency of Cross River State seeking to disqualify the candidate and affirmed the earlier decision of the Court of Appeal, Calabar Division, which had, at the instance of Prof Mike Ozekhome, SAN, allowed the appeal of the APC and its candidate, Ms Cynthia Nkasi, against the decision of the Federal High, Calabar Division, granting the claims of the PDP and its candidate, Dr Ogidi Achadu.

During the proceedings of the apex court presided over by  Hon Justice Inyang Okoro, JSC, who upon finding out that it was an inter party dispute where the PDP is seeking the disqualification of the candidate of another political party, the APC, the Supreme Court unanimously held ( with the four other justices concurring),that the appeal had no merit whatsoever as the apex court had consistently in a plethora of decided cases held that in pre-election matters, a political party does not have the locus standi to pry into the affairs of another political party regarding the nomination and sponsorship of its candidates.

The court unanimously asked the counsel to the Appellants, Mr F. Baba-Isah, to withdraw the appeal for being frivolous unmeritorious and time-wasting. The appeal was accordingly withdrawn and consequently dismissed at the instance of the team of lawyers led by Benson Igbanoi, Esq of Mike Ozekhome’s Chambers.

At the trial Court, the Appellants as plaintiffs (namely the PDP and its candidate, DR. OGIDI IDAGA MARTINS ACHADU), had approached the Federal High Court, Calabar division, via an Originating Summons and among other things, sought a declaration that the APC Primary Election held on the 26th of May, 2022, which produced MS. CYNTHIA NKASI as the candidate of the APC for the 2023 election in the Yala II State Constituency of Cross River State, was invalid for non-compliance with the Electoral Act, 2022.

They had asked the Federal High Court to nullify the said primary and order INEC to reject the candidate of the APC in the election. Surprisingly and against the weight of evidence before the court, the trial Federal High Court went ahead and granted the reliefs sought by the PDP and its candidate.   

Aggrieved by the decision of the trial court, the APC and its candidate filed two separate appeals against the judgment of the trial court to the Court of Appeal, Calabar Division. In a unanimous judgment delivered on the 5th of January, 2023, the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal of the APC and Dr Achadu on the merit and set aside the decision of the trial court. The Court of Appeal was very categorical on the point that the PDP cannot pry into the validity of the primary election of the APC and therefore lacked the locus standi to institute the action to challenge the emergence of MS. CYNTHIA NKASI as the candidate of the APC in the Yala II State constituency of Cross River State. The PDP and its candidate were heavily chastised by the Court of Appeal for engaging in what it described as “political voyeurism”. A cost of N250,000.00 (Two hundred and fifty thousand Naira) was also awarded against them.  

Aggrieved by the decision of the Court of Appeal, the PDP and Dr Achadu filed two separate appeals, Nos. CA/C/253/2022 and CA/C/358/2022, at the Supreme Court, on the 17th of January, 2023, which appeals were unanimously dismissed on 9th February, 2023.

By this development, the decision of the Court of Appeal which had set aside the decision of the trial Court was fully restored and remains valid and subsisting. The judgment of the trial court which had nullified the primary of the APC in the Yala II State constituency of Cross River State, is now deemed overruled. MS. CYNTHIA NKASI therefore remains the authentic candidate of the APC for the Yala II State constituency in the 2023 House of Assembly election in Cross River State.

KN

Tags: