…’Neither will Tinubu be sacked today’
…S’Court will first run normal processes, they say
…Let verdict help, not end, democracy–Barrister Moagua
…Expectations high nationwide
As the Supreme Court this morning commences hearing of three separate appeals challenging the decision of the Presidential Election Petitions Court (PEPC) which on September 6, 2023 upheld the election victory of President Bola Tinubu, lawyers said, contrary to expectations in many quarters, the matter will not end today.
Notice of hearing of the three appeals were issued by Supreme Court to the appellants: Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); Mr. Peter Gregory Obi and Labour Party ( LP) and Allied Peoples’ Movement (APM) on Wednesday last week summoning them to appear today for hearing.
Also summoned by the apex court to appear for the hearing are the respondents: Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which is the 1st respondent in all the three appeals.
Other respondents are President Bola Tinubu and All Progressives Congress (APC), Vice President Kashim Shettima and Aminu Bello Masari, whose replacement during nomination process with Vice President Shettima is now a core issue being challenged by APM’s appeal.
Though Nigerians’ expectations of today’s hearing are very high, senior lawyers appearing for their clients on the matter said yesterday that the hearing is likely to take the form of a pre hearing.
Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume (SAN), who is leading the legal team of APM, confirmed that the party was served with the hearing notice.
He said APM has no pending motion on its appeal before the Supreme Court, adding that it is likely the appeal will be heard.
The senior lawyer, however, explained that what is expected today should be a normal court procedure where, after an appeal is called, counsel in the matter announce their appearance and the Supreme Court panel will then ask them to identify the processes they filed.
The panel may insist that all pending motions be taken immediately in order to clear the coast for the hearing of the main appeal, he further explained.
Another lawyer, Pius Efelue who is also conversant with the apex court’s procedures, said he is certain that Atiku and PDP’s motion seeking the leave of the court to file fresh evidence on President Tinubu’s forgery allegation will be heard today.
“It will be heard before the main appeal, and considering that Supreme Court has a time frame within which to dispose of the appeal, it must be determined one way or the other,” he said.
Also commenting on today’s hearing, another lawyer, Akan N. Udoh, said the processes are just the beginning of the hearing.
He said that the high expectations of the populace are unnecessary because the hearing must take its normal cause. Udoh said the court will first entertain objection, if any, as to membership of the panel, then identify processes and hear urgent motions such as the one seeking to file fresh evidence.
Lagos-based legal practitioner, Ikechukwu Moagua, also told the Daily Times that Nigerians should not expect that the matters in court will end at today’s hearing.
”It can’t end tomorrow (today). One, Atiku filed fresh evidence. This was opposed by Tinubu.
”All applications will have to be argued. This court process may linger till 6 November this year when the entire matter will end.
”The Supreme Court will also look at what transpired in the PEPC,” he explained.
He, however, urged the apex court to, in its final verdict, go out of its way to ensure democracy and not one-party system thrives in the country.
Barrister Moagua implored the court to look at the current mood of the nation and ditch ”legal jingoism” in its judgment, to enable multi-party democracy flourish.
According to him, there is a sort of judgment that may emanate from the Supreme Court which could lead to voter apathy and the subsequent blooming of one-party system, stressing that such can end democracy in the country.
culled from Daily Times Nigeria