Reverse judgement sacking David Lyon, APC urges Supreme Court

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has returned to the Supreme Court with an application urging the court to reverse its judgment disqualifying its candidate in the last governorship election in Bayelsa State, Lyon David Pereworimin.

The APC, in an application filed on Thursday by its legal team, led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), with Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) also wants the apex court to set aside the “wrong” interpretation given to its judgment of February 13, 2020, and the subsequent execution by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The party is among others, contending that the Supreme Court, in its judgment, misinterpreted the November 12, 2019 judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja which it (the Supreme Court) affirmed.

The APC argued that the Supreme Court acted without jurisdiction and denied it (the party) fair hearing when it proceeded to disqualify its governorship candidate, even though the Federal High Court, in the judgment delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo, which the apex court affirmed, refused the plaintiffs’ prayer to disqualify Lyon.

The party also faulted the interpretation given to the Supreme Court judgment by INEC in deciding to issue a certificate of return to the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

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“After reinstating the judgment of the trial court in the judgment of this honourable court of 13th February 2020, in SC/1/2020 PDP & 2 Ors. v. Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo & 3 Ors., this honourable court proceeded to disqualify the governorship candidate of the applicant (Lyon David Pereworimin) despite the fact that the trial High Court refused to grant the reliefs for his disqualification and there was no appeal against same.

“In this honourable court’s judgment of 13th February 2020, the court erroneously and inadvertently stated that the trial High Court consequentially disqualified the applicant‘s governorship candidate even though the trial court made no such order and when the trial court indeed refused to grant the express orders sought by the plaintiffs therein for his disqualification,” it stated.

The APC, particularly wants the Supreme Court to set aside portions of its judgment where it held that the Federal High Court, in disqualifying its Deputy Governorship candidate, proceeded to disqualify its governorship candidate; and where it held that joint ticket of its candidates was vitiated by the disqualification of the Deputy Governorship candidate and that both candidates are deemed not to be candidates in the election.

It further prayed the court to set aside the portion of the judgment where it ordered INEC to declare as winner of the governorship election, candidates with the highest number of lawful votes; and where it ordered INEC to withdrew the certificate of return issued to its governorship candidate and the issuance of fresh one to the candidate who had the highest number of lawful votes.

The APC argued that it was wrong for the Supreme Court to have voided its candidates’ participation in the election, when, the judgment by the Federal High Court, disqualifying its deputy governorship candidate, was stayed as at when the election was conducted.

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According to the party: “By an originating summons dated 12th September 2019, in Suit NO: PHC/ABJ/CS/ 1101/2019 between PDP & 2 Ors. v. Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo & 3 Ors., the respondents approached the Federal High Court for a total of ten reliefs.

“In the judgment of the Federal High Court, per Ekwo J., delivered on 12th November 2019, the said court granted only six of the reliefs.

“In the drawn-up order of the Federal High Court duly signed by the trial judge, the six reliefs granted are clearly encapsulated therein.

“In specific reference to the reliefs for the disqualification of the governorship candidate of the applicant (Lyon Dovid Pereworimin), the trial court refused to grant the plaintiffs’ prayers to disqualify him.

“It was only the Deputy Governorship candidate of the applicant (Biobarakuma Degl-Eremienyo) that the trial court made an order of disqualification against.

“Applicant and its governorship and deputy governorship candidates timeously appealed the judgment of the Federal High Court to the Court of Appeal and also applied for a stay of execution of the said judgment pending appeal.

“By on order mode on 13th November 2019 in CA/A/1053/M/2019 between Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo & Anor v. PDP & Ors., the Court of Appeal. Abuja judicial division stayed the execution of the judgment of the trial Court delivered on 12th November 2019.

“As at the time the governorship election in Boyetso State was conducted on 16th November 2019 the order for stay of execution granted by the Court of Appeal was subsisting and there was no appeal against it.

“The judgment of the Court of Appeal was delivered on 23rd December 2019 whereby the Court of Appeal set aside the decision of the High Court delivered on 12th November. 2019.

“There was no cross-appeal to the Court of Appeal against the decision of the trial Court refusing to make an order disqualifying the governorship candidate of the applicant.

“In the judgment of this honourable court delivered on 13th February 2019, this honourable court set aside the decision of the Court of Appeal and restored the decision of the trial Court.

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“In the enrolled order of the judgment of the trial High Court, no disqualification order was made against the applicant’s candidate (Lyon David Pereworimin), whether consequentially or otherwise.

“After reinstating the judgment of the trial court in the judgment of this honourable court of 13th February 2020, in SC/1/2020 PDP & 2 Ors. v. Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo & 3 Ors., this honourable court proceeded to disqualify the governorship candidate of the applicant (Lyon David Pereworimin) despite the fact that the trial court refused to grant the reliefs for his disqualification and there was no appeal against same.

“This honourable court acted without jurisdiction by holding as in (xiii) and (xiv). supra (as contained in the two paragraphs above) and also breached applicant’s right to a fair hearing.

“With respect, the portions of the judgment of this honourable court highlighted in the body of this application constitute a nullity.

“With respect, the decision of this honourable court of 13th February 2020, in SC/1/ 2020 PDP & 2 Ors. v. Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo & 3 Ors., was premised on and vitiated by a fundamental error.

“With respect to the decision of this honourable court of this 13th February 2020, in SC. 1/ 2020 PDP & 2 rs. v. Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo & 3 Ors., is contrary to public policy.

“By a press statement made on 14th February 2020, the Chairman of the 4th (INEC) respondent purported to interpret the judgment of this Honourable Court of 13th February 2020 in SC/1/2020 PDP & 2 Ors. v. Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo 8.3 Ors.

“In the said press statement, the 4th respondent reviewed the judgment of this honourable court, gave it a different interpretation and come to a wrong conclusion. thus declaring the 2nd and 3rd respondents as the Governor and Deputy Governor-elect of Bayelsa State respectively” the party stated in their application.

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