Bayelsa: Supreme Court throws out Lyon, APC’s application for judgment review
...Slams N10m fine on Babalola, Olanipekun
The Supreme Court on Wednesday threw out the application by the sacked Bayelsa State governor-elect, David Lyon, asking it to review its judgment of February 13, 2020.
The said judgment had voided Lyon’s participation and that of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the November 16, 2020 governorship election in Bayelsa State.
The Supreme Court described the request by Lyon as vexatious, frivolous and an abuse of court process.
The court held that the suit filed on behalf of the APC and its sacked governor-elect lacked merit and accordingly dismissed it.
Delivering the unanimous decision of the seven-man panel of justices, Justice Amina Augie, who read the judgment, was visibly sad with the application for review.
The apex court held that the application was regrettable and a deliberate desecration of the judiciary.
She berated Afe Babalola (SAN) and Wole Olanipekun (SAN), counsels to Lyon and the APC.
“I feel like shedding tears that senior counsel in this case would ever bring this kind of frivolous applications during my lifetime,” Augie said in an emotion-laden voice.
She subsequently ordered the counsel to pay the sum of N10m to each of the respondents as fine.
Justice Augie said the fine was to be personally paid by the lawyers.
In the judgment, Justice Augie held that by Order 8, Rule 16 of the Supreme Court, the court has no powers or authority to review any judgment delivered on merit save for clerical error.
“This court is not authorised and indeed lacks jurisdiction to review any judgment delivered on merit, more so when the applicants have not pointed out any accidental error or slip in the judgment,” Augie said.
“There must be an end to every litigation. This is final court and its decisions are final for all ages so as to ensure certainty in law. The two applications brought before us today lacked merit and constituted abuse of this court and they are liable to dismissal and are hereby dismissed,” she held.
The apex court had on February 13, barely 24 hours to the inauguration of Lyon and his deputy to steer the ship of Bayelsa State, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return issued them as winner of the November 16 governorship election in Bayelsa State.
The action of the apex court was predicated on the grounds that the APC deputy governor-elect was not qualified to have participated in the polls on account of supplying false information to INEC to aid his qualification for the election. And, that being a joint ticket, voided the participation in the election.
The apex court subsequently ordered that the candidates of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who came second in the election, be sworn in as duly elected governor and deputy governor of the state.
However, not satisfied with the decision of the apex court, the APC and Lyon applied to the court for a review and setting aside of its judgment that disqualified them from the November 16 poll.
The applicants specifically wanted the Supreme Court to set aside the “wrong” interpretation given to its judgment of February 13, 2020 and the subsequent execution by INEC.
Among others, APC contended that the Supreme Court, in its judgment, misinterpreted the November 12, 2019 judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja which it affirmed.
The party argued that the Supreme Court acted without jurisdiction and denied it fair hearing when it proceeded to disqualify its governorship candidate even though the Federal High Court, in the judgment by Justice Inyang Ekwo, which the apex court affirmed, refused the prayer to disqualify Lyon.
The APC also faulted the interpretation given to the Supreme Court judgment by INEC in deciding to issue certificate of return to the candidates of the PDP.
FELIX OMOHOMHION, Abuja