By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Supreme Court, will today, deliver its judgment on an appeal challenging the outcome of the April 16 presidential election.
The appeal which is seeking to sack President Goodluck Jonathan from office, was filed before the apex court by the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC.
The opposition party is urging the Supreme Court to set aside the verdict of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal which on November 1, affirmed President Jonathan as the authentic winner of the presidential contest.
It specifically prayed the apex court to either annul the election and mandate the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to organise a re-run election between its candidate, General Muhamadu Buhari (rtd) and that of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, President Jonathan, or in the alternative, remit the case-file to the tribunal and order the Appeal Court President to constitute a fresh panel to hear the appeal de-novo (afresh).
Listed as respondents in the appeal were INEC; its Chairman, Prof; Attahiru Jega; the Resident Electoral Commissioners in the 36 states of the federation and the FCT; President Jonathan, his vice and the PDP.
It would be recalled that the Presidential Election Tribunal which held its sittings at the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, not only dismissed CPC’s petition against the April 16 general election, but equally held that the electoral exercise was conducted in line with provisions of both the Electoral Act and the 1999 Constitution as amended.
However, expressing its dissatisfaction with the decision of the five-man panel tribunal led by Justice Kumai Bayaang Akaahs, the CPC, through its lead counsel, Mr Oladipo Okpeseyi, SAN, told the Supreme Court that the tribunal wrongfully evaluated evidences that were adduced before it by witnesses the party called.
In a brief of argument it entered at the apex court registry on November 28, the opposition party contended that the trial tribunal erred in law when it rejected documents required to prove multiple thumb printing, non-distribution of electoral materials as well as occasioned miscarriage of justice by not ascertaining the actual number of required voters, the accredited number of voters and the actual number of voters that voted in the disputed election.
On the other hand, counsel to President Jonathan and his vice, Sambo, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, urged the apex court to go ahead and dismiss the appeal in its entirety, saying it grossly lacked in both substance and merit.
After all the parties had adopted their briefs of argument, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, who presided over a seven-man panel of Justices of the Supreme Court that heard the appeal, adjourned the case till today for judgment.
The other Justices on the panel are, Mahmud Mohammed, Walter Onnoghen, John Afolabi Fabiyi, Olufunlola Adekeye, Bode Rhodes-Vivour and Sylvester Ngwuta.