By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—-The Supreme Court, on Friday, declined to set-aside its judgement that sacked all candidates of the All Progressives Congress, APC, that won various positions in Zamfara State in the 2019 general elections.
The apex court, in a four-to-one decision by a five-man panel of Justices led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, accused the APC of abusing the judicial process by seeking to review a final judgement of the Supreme Court.
It held that the apex court, by its Order 8 Rule 16, lacks the jurisdiction to tamper with its final judgement on any matter, except to correct clerical errors that arose from an accidental slip, or to vary a judgement or order, so as to give the intended meaning.
Justice Inyang Okoro who delivered the lead judgement, said the application that was filed by a faction of the APC led by the immediate past Governor of Zamfara State, Ahldulaziz Yari, was bound to fail.
Aside declining to set-aside the judgement, Justice Okoro awarded N2million cost against the Applicants.
However, a member of the panel, Justice Chima Nweze, gave a dissenting opinion, insisting that the Supreme Court has the power to set-aside any judgement it gave in error.
Justice Nweze, held that the Supreme Court made a wrong consequential order, when it directed that candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, that got the second highest number of votes in the election, should be sworn in.
He said the Supreme Court was not “a Father Christmas” to give benefits to candidates that were not parties in an Intra-party dispute that involved only members of the APC.
“This court has the power to overrule itself when its judgement was entered in error. It is better to admit any error than to abide in error”, Justice Nweze held.
Consequently, he disagreed with the CJN and three other Justices on the panel and declared the consequential order of the Supreme Court that handed PDP victory in Zamfara State, a nullity.
Remarkably, it was Justice Nweze that also gave a dissenting that nullified the judgement of the Supreme Court that sacked Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP as governor of Imo State and handed victory to Hope Uzodinma of the APC.