The Supreme Court on Monday struck out a fresh suit filed by the Hope Democratic Party and it’s presidential candidate, Ambrose Owuru, challenging the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari as the winner of the February 23 presidential election.
The apex court bowed to hear the appeal afresh following protest by the party that the court’s earlier decision which dismissed the appeal was based on a technicality rather than on merits of the law.
The apex court struck out the appeal following the dramatic withdrawal of an application praying for the restoration of the appeal to be heard afresh.
Justice Olukayode Ariwoola who led four other Justices in a short ruling struck out the application.
Ariwoola in the ruling agreed that the application of the appellants had been caught up by section 285 of the 1999 constitution and as such no longer has a life to maintain it.
He, however, declined to award cost against the appellants as demanded by counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission, Yunus Usman SAN and that of the All Progressives Congress, Yakubu Maikyau SAN.
Owuru and HDP had sought for leave of the court to allow them to bring back their appeal, which had been struck out due to errors of filling two notices of appeal in respect of one matter and against the provisions of the law.
When the matter came up on Monday, the attention of counsel to the appellants Mr Sunday Ezema was drawn to section 285 (7) of the 1999 constitution and was asked whether the appeal has not become statute-barred.
Although the counsel initially insisted the appeal can still be heard, he, however, made a dramatic u-turn and applied for withdrawal of the application.
Buhari’s counsel Wole Olanipekun, SAN, did not ask for cost against the two appellants.
Olanipekun had objected to the application of the appellants to hear their appeal afresh on the grounds that it was statute-barred.
He argued that the appellants were not fair to the court by engaging it ‘in a non justiciable application that will serve no purpose other than wasting precious time of the court.
The position was adopted by counsel to INEC and APC but with demand for substantial cost against the appellants for wasting the time of the court with frivolous application.
HDP had filed a fresh motion to challenge the way and manner its appeal against President Buhari’s election was determined and struck out on what it termed technicality rather than the merit of law.