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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Supreme Court adjourns request for review of its judgement in Zamfara till March 17

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ABUJA  – The Supreme Court, on Monday, adjourned till March 17, to hear the application asking it to review its judgement that sacked all candidates of the All Progressives Congress, APC, that won various positions in Zamfara State in the 2019 general elections.

A five-man panel of Justices of the apex court headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad, adjourned the matter to enable the Applicants to effect service of all the legal processes on some of the Respondents. The fresh application was brought by a faction of the APC led by a former governor of the state, Abdulaziz Yari. 

When the matter was called up for hearing on Monday, the 141st to 178th Respondents, were not represented by any lawyer. The CJN-led panel noted that there was no evidence that they were duly served with all the processes and the hearing notice.

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Consequently, counsel to the Applicants, Chief Robert Clarke, pleaded for an adjournment to enable him to either serve them or to apply for leave to delist them as parties to the action. He told the court that the Respondents are all members of the APC in Zamfara, insisting that they are in one accord with the party on why the apex court should reverse its judgement. Besides, Clarke maintained that the matter could be effectively decided in the absence of the affected Respondents. On his part, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, who appeared for the Senator Kabiru Marafa-led faction of the APC in Zamfara state, cited as the 1st to 140th Respondents, told the panel that lawyers that previously represented the other Respondents, declined to accept service on their behalf.

Meantime, after it listened to the parties, the apex court adjourned the matter till March 17 for hearing. Specifically the Applicants are challenging the Supreme Court judgement in Zamfara state on the basis of its consequential orders that handed victory to candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state. Contending that the said consequential order rendered the entire judgement a nullity, the Applicants, argued that reliefs the Supreme Court granted in favour of the PDP and its candidates, were extraneous to issues that aggrieved members of the APC brought before it for adjudication.

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In their fresh application marked SC/377/19, they argued: “That the Consequential Orders made by this Honourable Court in 5 appeal has made non-parties to the Appeal to unjustifiably benefit from the outcome of the Appeal contrary to age long decided authorities by this same court. Hence,  aking this non-parties to reap from where they never sow “That the teeming electorates in Zamfara State have been unfairly and unjustifiably denied or deprived of their natural or ordinary outcome of the votes cast by them.”

However,Ozekhome, SAN, who is representing the Senator Marafa-led faction of the APC in the state, told the apex court that he filed a preliminary objection to challenge the competence of the application on a political matter he said had become statute barred. The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, was cited as the 179th Respondent in the matter.

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