The decision of the court of appeal today went something like this:
Out of the 11 Grounds of Appeal filed by Mad Lion, 8 Grounds (1,2,3,4,8,9,10 & 11) were resolved in favour of Hon Hassan A. Saleh.
However, Grounds 5,6 & 7 were held in favour of Hon. Adabah Abah and were enough to overturn the Federal High Court Judgment.
The Court held that “Hon. Adabah C. Abah is and remains the sole candidate for the 2015 Ado-Ogbadibo & Okpokwu Federal House of Representatives position. And that since Hon. Adabah Abah was not a litigant in the election matter of 2011 between Daniel Onjeh vs. Hassan Saleh, it can’t be used against him in the 2015 Election matter and that his name was merely mentioned during the proceedings was not enough to have made him a party in that case of 2011 and to be bound by it in 2015.
The Court also held that t a mere letter from an institution on its’ Letter Headed Paper is not enough to find Hon. Adabah C. Abah guilty of the offence of “FORGERY” especially since s he was not charged, tried and convicted by a competent Court of Law neither was he accorded his Constitutional Right to Fair Hearing as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution (as Amended).
Grounds 5,6 and 7 of Hon. Adabah Abah’s Appeal succeeded and the earlier judgement of the lower Court in favour of the Lower Court in favour of Hon. A.H. Saleh was overturned.” (Hat tip/ Ameh Godwin Ameh)
What this means effectively is that Mad Lion is to step in as the bonafide and legitimately elected member representing the Ado/Ogbadibo/Okpokwu Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Nigeria (NASS) while Saleh is out.
Hassan Anthony Saleh himself had argued that the purport of the judgement is not to remove him or exonerate Mad Lion from the charge of forgery with which he procured his judgement at the lower court and that what the court has done was to give him two options whether to appeal to the Supreme Court or to start the case de novo at the Federal High Court.
While I agree that the law gives him the right to do whatever is necessary to find justice, however, right here, right now, the status quo ante favours Christian Adaba Abbah (Mad lion). The substratum upon which Hassan Saleh’s ascended to the membership of the House has been kicked away from under him. The judgement of the High Court no longer exists.
Since he never contested an election under INEC, he has no basis for remaining in the House. His time is done. INEC should proceed apace to withdraw the certificate of returns from him. He should vomit the pay he has been receiving as a usurper.
A bare appeal or an application for stay to the Supreme Court is not enough to stop the INEC from giving a certificate of return to the Mad lion. This is so because it is trite that an appeal does not, ipso facto, operate as a stay of proceedings of a court. An appellant desirous of appealing the judgement of a lower court must take a further step by filing an application to stay the proceedings execution of judgement complained against pending the outcome of an appeal. See Fani-Kayode v. F.R.N. 4 NWLR (1237) 340 at 355 paras. E-F.
At any event, A ‘Stay’ does not operate in election matter, whether pre or post-election matters as the case may be. Hassan Saleh was a beneficiary of this rule was he was sworn in on the basis of the judgement he got at the lower court even when an appeal had been entered by Hon. Adabah C. Abah at the Appeal Court.
For now Hon. Hassan Saleh is out in the cold until a superior court holds otherwise.