By Kayode Matthew
Senator Joy Emodi representing Anambra North Senatorial District at the National Assembly has filed an application before the Court of Appeal, sitting in Enugu asking the appellate court to seek direction from the Supreme Court on some Constitutional issues involved in the conflicting judgments delivered by the appeal court in the election petition appeals brought before it.
In the motion filed by her counsel, Mr Festus Okoye, the senator is praying the Court of Appeal for an order referring the application pending before it dated the 9th of April 2010 to the Supreme Court of Nigeria for the hearing, determination and direction on the following Constitutional Issues/Questions: *Whether the issues determined this Honourable Court in Appeal No. CA/E/EPT/04/2009 on the 25th of March 2010 between Hon. Alphonsus Igbeke and the Applicant (Joy Emodi) are not the same issues that were finally determined by this Honourable Court in Appeal No.CA/E/EPT/73/2008 on the 10th of February 2009.
*Whether the ruling/judgment of this Honourable Court in Appeal N0. CA/E/EPT/04/2009 between Hon. Alphonsus Igbeke and the Applicant does not amount to a review of the final decision of this court in Appeal No. CA/E/EPT/73/2008 decided by this Honourable Court in respect of the same subject matter.
*Subject to issue (b) above whether this Honourable Court has the requisite powers and jurisdiction to review and /or set aside its previous decision in relation to the same subject matter if same are in conflict. The grounds upon which the reliefs are sought according to the motion are that: â€œThis Honourable Court delivered two conflicting judgments in Appeal No. CA/E/EPT/04/2009 delivered on the 25th of March 2010 and in Appeal No. CA/E/EPT/73/2008 delivered on the 10th of February 2009.
â€œThe fact that there are two conflicting judgments of this court on the Senatorial Elections in Anambra North Senatorial District has created a constitutional and legal crisis as to which of the two decisions of this court ought to be followed. â€œIt has become expedient in the circumstance of this case particularly in view of the two decisions referred to above to refer the present application to the Supreme Court for purposes of resolving the substantial questions of law that arise therein.
In an earlier motion filed before the Court of Appeal, Senator Joy Emodi prayed the court for an order setting aside its judgment in Appeal No. CA/E/EPT/04/2009 delivered on the 25th of March 2010 for being a nullity. Alternatively she asked for an order reviewing and or interpreting the judgment in Appeal No. CA/E/EPT/04/2009 delivered on the 25th of March 2010 and Appeal No. CA/E/EPT/73/2008 delivered on the 10th of February 2009 for purposes of giving effect to their true meaning, intent and effect. She sought the reliefs on the grounds that: â€œJudgment in Appeal No. CA/E/EPT/04/2009 delivered on the 25th of March 2010 is ultra vires the Court of Appeal under the Constitution and the Electoral Act.
â€œThe Judgment in Appeal No. CA/E/EPT/04/2009 delivered on the 25th of March 2010 was delivered without averting to the earlier judgment in Appeal No. CA/E/EPT/73/2008.Â â€œThe Judgment of the Court of Appeal in Appeal No. CA/E/EPT/73/2008 has conclusively determined all the issues canvassed in Appeal No. CA/E/EPT/04/2009 delivered on the 25th of March 2010.
â€œThe Court of Appeal in Appeal No. CA/E/EPT/73/2008 affirmed that the election was properly conducted and that the Court below was right to uphold the election of the Applicant who scored majority of the lawful votes cast at the election and in Appeal No.CA/E/EPT/04/2009 delivered on the 25th March 2010 this same Court returned the 1st Respondent (Alphonsus Igbeke) as duly elected. Named as Respondents in the applications are Hon. Alphonsus Igbeke; Hon. Jessie Balonwu; Senate President; Clerk of the Senate; Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Independent National Electoral Commission.
After filling the application in which she prayed the appellate court to set aside its judgment of March 25 2010 which annulled election Senator Emodi also asked three justices of the court to â€œdisqualify themselves from sitting, adjudicating or taking part in any processes before the court relating to her earlier application for the interpretation of the two conflicting judgments delivered by the same appeal court on her electionâ€.
The judges are Amiru Sanusi, Ladan Tsamiya and Olu Arioola who had presided over the appeal filed by the Anambra North Senatorial candidate of All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, Alphonsus Igbeke.Â Before the ruling of the three judges in Igbekeâ€™s case, two of the justices Ladan Tsamiya and Olu Arioola had participated in an earlier appeal filed by the Labour Party senatorial candidate for Anambra North, Mrs. Jessie Balonwu in which they declared Emodi of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP winner of the same election. However, at the hearing of Emodiâ€™s application seeking interpretation of the two conflicting judgments the three justices (Sanusi, Tsamiya and Arioola) also appeared in the matter with two other justices even after she had written the President of the Court of Appeal in a letter dated April 16, 2010 requesting that a fresh panel should be constituted to handle the case to ensure that justice was done.