“Why The Supreme Court Cannot Reverse It’s Judgment on Zamafara APC Political Imbroglio-Group

As the Supreme Court gets set hear the application for a review of its judgment which invalidated the election of the All Progressives Congress [APC] Governorship, National and State Assembly candidates in Zamfara State a Non Governmental Organisation Patriots for the Advancement of Peace and Social Justice [PAPSJ] has declared that the apex court cannot reverse its decision on Zamfara APC case as it is a self inflicted injury caused by the party’s inability to conduct a valid primary.

The group pointed out that the Zamfara APC case falls short of the provisions within which the apex court could reverse itself noting that without mincing words, the Supreme Court in the cases APC Bayelsa and Zamfara APC made accurate findings as the blame lies with the party leadership as it failed in its duties of providing qualified candidates and conducting valid primaries for the elections.

In a statement in Abuja the Executive Director Patriots for the Advancement of Peace and Social Justice, Dr. Sanni Abdualhi Shinkafi stated that “the electoral jurisprudence is settled for decades that for there to be a valid ticket, both the candidate and his deputy governorship candidates sponsored by a political party must be qualified in all ramifications. Once there is an affliction on one the candidature of the party collapses in its entirety rendering the joint ticket to be no ticket at all.

“Two subsections of Section 187 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as altered), carry neither ambiguity nor vagueness in this regard. Little wonder, therefore, that the votes accrued by the ruling party were discountenanced on the ground that there was no valid nomination as at the time of the election. However in both the cases of the APC in Zamfara and Bayelsa States the question here should who is actually to be blamed? This could be said to be a self inflicted injury as the party in both cases failed to either conduct a valid primary or field qualified candidates for the polls” he added

Shinkafi stated that “without mincing words, the Supreme Court in both cases made accurate findings as the blame lies with the party leadership as it failed in its duties of providing qualified candidates for the elections. But believing the Supreme Court Justices are human beings and therefore infallible, and are liable to make mistakes, when they can they reverse themselves?

“When the Supreme Court May Set Aside Its Own Judgement *Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc v L. G. C. Ltd (2020) 2 NWLR (Pt. 1707) 1 @ 17* , the Supreme Court per Abba Aji,JSC held inter alia that the Supreme Court has the power to set aside its Judgement,and rehear same under the following circumstances:

1. Where there is a clerical mistake in the Judgement or Order;
2. Where there is an error arising from an accidental slip or omission;
3. Where there arises the necessity for carrying out its own meaning and to make its intention plain;
4. Where any of the parties obtained judgement by fraud or deceit;
5. Where such a decision is a nullity;
6. Where it is obvious that the Court was misled into giving the decision under a wrong belief that the parties consented to it;
7. When the judgement was given without jurisdiction;
8. Where the procedure adopted was such as to deprive the decision or judgement of the character of a legitimate adjudication;
9. Where the writ or application was not served on the other party, or there is denial of fair hearing;
10. Where the decision/judgement is contrary to public policy and will perpetuate injustice.

He stated that “Where a political party fails in the screening of the candidates and presents an unqualified candidate, the sanction is not only disqualification but also penalty of N500,000, which the Supreme Court probably forgot to impose on the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Bayelsa case.

“The APC application for the review of the Zamfara State governorship election is frivolous as it is a case of a self inflicted injury, the Oshomole led leadership of the party should take the blame for the party’s misfortune and they should accept it in good faith and stop trying to apportion blames where it does not belong. From the forgoing the Zamfara State does not fall into cases where the Supreme Court could be called upon to revisit its decision.

Shinkafi recalled the statement of Zainab Bulkchuwa he said “adding her voice to calls against the Supreme Court reversing its judgment the immediate past president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa, described recent moves by some senior lawyers to get the Supreme Court to review its judgements as unconstitutional. Justice Bulkachuwa, who described the development as unfortunate, insisted that “it is a threat to the judiciary as a whole.”

“We urge Supreme to remain steadfast, stoic and undaunted as the apex and policy Court of the nation. The orchestrated attempt by politicians to review the Apex Court’s decision in Zamfara is a knee-jerk reaction propelled by desperation and tomfoolery. Why will the Court permit litigants to have a second bite at the proverbial cheery? Has the age long principle that there must be an end to litigation no longer in force? The Latin maxim is famous: Interest Reipublicae ut sit finis litium – There must, in the public interest, be an end to litigation. We urge the Supreme Court to remain resolute as a policy Court in seeing that there is indeed an end to litigation.

He pointed out that “going by the provisions of Section 235 of the 1999 Constitution as amended which provides that “without prejudice to the powers of the President or of the Governor of a state with respect to prerogative of mercy, no appeal shall lie to any other body or person from any determination of the Supreme Court.

“If all litigants who lost out before Your Lordships are to be permitted to have a 2nd bite at the cheery, under the euphemism of APPLICATION FOR REVIEW, then convicts whose death penalties and terms of imprisonments have been affirmed by Your Lordship should take the front seat. The verdicts against them are matters of life and death. Their APPPLICATION FOR REVIEW should take priority over that of politicians, whose terms of office is merely 4 years” he declared.

Shinkafi pointed out that “Should the Supreme Court review and change the Zamfara decision by straying outside the established and narrow principles for so doing, the catastrophic consequences will be unimaginable. Our Judiciary is already groaning under an enormous workload, amidst poor facilities and meagre remuneration. What will then happen if Your Lordships throw the floodgates open, proclaiming that there is no more end to litigation?

“If the Zamfara APC review matter succeeds it is not only that all unsuccessful litigants of yesteryears will stampede back to the Supreme Court for a review, the Court of Appeal will also collapse under the expected deluge of Applications for Review arising from National Assembly and State House of Assembly election petition appeals. In the same vein, the Supreme Court would have by Judicial Legislation, deleted Section 285 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which drew an essential timetable for determining pre-election and post-election matters. May that day never come” he added.

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