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Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Supreme court upholds its judgment sacking David Lyon

Supreme court upholds its judgment sacking David Lyon

The supreme court has struck out the application of the All Progressive Congress (APC) seeking a reversal of the judgment which sacked David Lyon as winner of the Bayelsa governorship election.

The apex court held that the application constitutes a gross abuse of judicial process.

On February 13, the supreme court affirmed the verdict of a federal high court which disqualified Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, Lyon’s running mate, for allegedly submitting forged credentials to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

As a result, the court also voided the victory of Lyon on the grounds that both men contested the election on a joint ticket.

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Afe Babalola, counsel representing Lyon, faulted the February 13 decision of the apex court which voided the victory of his client.

He said judgment was a nullity having breached his client’s right to fair hearing. He therefore asked the court to set aside its earlier decision.

Babalola prayed for “an order restoring the appeal for hearing on its merit”.

Wole Olanipekun, counsel to the All Progressive Congress (APC), in his argument submitted that the supreme court misinterpreted the judgment of the trial court and disqualified Lyon in error.

He said the judgment of the federal high court which the apex court affirmed in its judgment, did not grant the prayers of the PDP which asked for Lyon’s disqualification because he did not have a valid running mate.

Olanipekun said since the PDP’s appeal was only against the decision of the court of appeal which ruled in favour of Degi-Eremienyo and not against the decision of the high court refusing to make an order disqualifying Lyon, the apex court lacked jurisdiction to remove Lyon.

Tayo Oyetibo, PDP’s lawyer, argued that the law prohibits the apex court from reviewing its own decision.

He said the application for review is a dangerous invitation to the supreme court to violate the constitution. He also said reviewing the appeal will open the “floodgates” for other litigants to bring further appeals.

“When supreme court gives judgment, it is deemed correct. It has never happened in the history of the supreme court to reverse itself, its judgment is final and finality. And whatever supreme court says in the interpretation of the law is the law,” he said.

Chris Uche, who represented the current deputy governor of the state, asked the court to award substantial cost against the applicants so as to deter others who have similar intentions from doing so.

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