Posted by News Express | 16 December 2014 | 3,640 times
The Supreme Court today dismissed the appeal brought by a chieftain of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Umar Ardo, challenging the decision of the Court of Appeal which refused his application to be joined in the suit challenging President Goodluck Jonathan’s eligibility to contest the presidential elections in 2015.
The dismissal followed an oral application by counsel to Ardo, Dr. A Amuda Kannike, SAN, seeking to withdraw the appeal, which was not opposed by counsels in the suit.
The ruling by a panel of seven justices led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed said the appellant had no business joining in the appeal challenging Jonathan's eligibility, as no law stopped him from participating in the just concluded convention of the party.
The Appeal Court had earlier dismissed Ardo’s application to join the appeal by a PDP presidential aspirant, Cyriacus Njoku who is challenging the decision of an Abuja High Court which dismissed his suit seeking to stop Jonathan from re-contesting in 2015.
The Appeal Court had ruled that Ardo did not show a reasonable interest to warrant the application for joinder since he is not a presidential aspirant.
The Appeal Court had also ruled that Ardo was not a party at the lower court, hence he could not join in the appeal, holding that the suit lacked merit.
Not satisfied, Ardo approached the Supreme Court to challenge the decision.
When the matter came up on Tuesday, the CJN noted that the substantive appeal was still pending before the Court of Appeal and that what was before the apex court was an interlocutory appeal.
“You are appealing against the ruling of the Court of Appeal that refused to join you. We cannot sit down here and step into the shoes of the Court of Appeal,” the Chief Justice stated.
The Supreme Court further noted that Ardo was guilty of stalling substantive appeal adding that the apex court had no power to sit over an appeal pending at the court of appeal.
“You did not ask for leave to join. Rather, you were asking for extension of time. The matter does not require many people to be joined as parties. Njoku's interest can be used as every other person’s interest in the matter.
“Withdraw this appeal and allow the Court of Appeal to sit on the substantive appeal. You don't need to be a party in the appeal.
“Nobody would have even prevented you from contesting, if really you are serious with your claims that you are interested.
“I cannot see the relevance of this appeal anymore. Primary election has been concluded. You did not participate in the primary. Even if you want to contest it, you cannot, because you did not participate in it.
“It is clear; you are delaying the substantive appeal. The decision of the Court of Appeal is correct,” the court noted.
Reacting to the ruling, counsel to Jonathan, Mr Ade Okeaya-Inneh, SAN stated that the law was clear and the apex court had affirmed such.
Also reacting, PDP legal adviser, Victor Kwon said that the apex court had shown the appellant that his appeal was a waste of time.
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