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Friday, June 22, 2012

Benue Guber Crisis: Ugba, ACN Seek To Reverse Supreme Court Judgment

Prof. Steve Ugba, an ACN Governorship Candidate in the April 2011 election in Benue, has asked the Supreme Court to reverse its decision which terminated appeals that challenged Gov. Gabriel Suswam’s election.
A copy of the motion was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.
NAN recalls that the apex court had upheld the election of Suswam as Governor of the State.
Ugba and the ACN had specifically sought for an order setting aside the court’s ruling delivered on June 8 in appeals Nos. SC191/2012 and SC191A/2012.

The applicants had brought the motion on notice pursuant to Sections 6(6) (a) and (b), 36 (1) and (3), 4 (3), 294 (4) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
The motion, which was filed on June 19, was further hinged on Section 22 of the Supreme Court Act, 2004; Order 2 Rules 14 (1) and 28(1) and Order 8 Rule 17 of the Supreme Court Rules 1999 as amended.
The Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal in Benue had dismissed the petition on the ground that it was not heard within 180 days as stipulated in Section 285 (6) of the 1999 constitution.
Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, who led six other Supreme Court Justices, had held that the appeal was an abuse of court process.
Ariwoola said that section 285 (6) of the Constitution, as amended, stipulates 180 days for election petition to be heard and determined by an election petition tribunal.
According to him, no court of law has the powers to extend or enlarge the 180 days.
He added that the apex court lacked the jurisdiction over election petition outside 180 days.
The applicants in the fresh motion further sought for an order implementing its decision delivered on Nov. 14, 2011.
The court had on the above date ruled that the petition be heard on its merits.
They had further prayed for an order restoring appeals Nos. SC191/2012, SC191/2012 terminated on June 8 and to hear same on merit.
The applicants said that the ground for the application was predicated on the fact that the first respondent (Suswam), had manifested foreknowledge of the June 8 decision.
They alleged that the first respondent had posted the decision at 7:49 a.m of June 8 on Facebook (Village Corner).
According to them, Suswam had further orchestrated the broadcast of same decision on Radio Benue on June 7.
The applicants said the other ground of the application was hinged on the fact that at the time of delivery of the decision, only the lead ruling and the contributing ruling of the presiding justice were available and read in the open court.
They said that the rest of the other rulings were not available and read in the open court as required by Section 294 (2) of the 1999 Constitution.
The applicants further stated that Section 36 (6) (a) of the 1999 Constitution was not taken into account in adjudicating on the appeals as the applicants’ brief were not considered.
The respondents are Suswam, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
NAN reports  that no date has been fixed for the hearing of the motion. (NAN)

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