Home » Goodluck Jonathan (2010-present), Judiciary, Muhammadu Buhari (1983-85), Presidency » Supreme Court affirms Jonathan’s victory:: Verdict Politically Motivated — Buhari (If it was in his favor, it would have been a sound judgment)

Supreme Court affirms Jonathan’s victory:: Verdict Politically Motivated — Buhari (If it was in his favor, it would have been a sound judgment)

After a long and anxious wait, the Supreme Court yesterday dismissed an appeal filed by the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and affirmed the victory of President Goodluck Jonathan and his vice Namadi Sambo in the April 16,2011 presidential election.

The apex court had upheld the verdict of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal which ruled that Jonathan was validly elected and dismissed the CPC’s petition on the grounds that the petitioner could not prove its petition beyond reasonable doubts.

The development came just as the presidential candidate of the CPC Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, has said that the verdict of the apex court was politically motivated.
The seven-man panel of Justices of the apex court comprising the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Dahiru Musdapher, Mahmud Muhammad, Walter Samuel Onnoghen, John Afolabi Fabiyi, Olufunlola Oyelola Adekeye, Bode Rhodes-Vivour and Nwali Ngwuta had in a unanimous decision dismissed CPC’s petition on November 1, 2011.

In the lead judgment prepared and delivered by Justice Adekeye, the apex court said: “From whatever angle this petition is looked at, it is clear that the burden of proof of the allegations contained in the petition be they criminal or substantial non-compliance rested with the petitioner.”
Continuing in its 26 page judgment, the Supreme Court observed that “the petitioner did not discharge this burden to warrant a rebuttal evidence to be adduced by the first set of respondents. The lower court came to this conclusion going by the evidence before it both oral and documentary that the election of the office of the president and vice president has not been successfully challenged; the petition failed and was dismissed.

“By this, the foregoing conclusion of the lower court was in the circumstance right, proper and unassailable-this court has no justifiable reason to interfere with it. The appeal lacks merit and it is accordingly dismissed. The judgment of the lower court is affirmed. Consequently, the 3rd and 4th respondents won the election conducted by the 1st respondent on the said 16th April, 2011 and were returned by the 1st respondent as the duly elected president and vice president respectively of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. No order as to costs”.

The CJN, who was not present in the court yesterday had his judgment on the CPC delivered by Justice Onnoghen. He agreed with the lead judgment and further held that the appellant did not prove the alleged substantial non-compliance to merit any relief sought. He said: “I align myself with the conclusion of the lead judgment and consequently dismiss the appeal.”
Agreeing with the position of the lead judgment, Justice Fabiyi  said that since the CPC failed to prove its complaints of non-compliance of the conduct of presidential election with the relevant provisions of the law, and that the non-compliance substantially affected the outcome of the election, the findings of the lower court  have merit.

Besides, appellant’s allegation that the lower court denied it the right of fair hearing could not be justified. “I see no merit in this case and therefore hereby dismiss it and also align myself with the consequential order made in the lead judgment”

Justice Rhodes-Vivour however, held that for any petition to succeed on the grounds of non-compliance, the petitioner must prove beyond reasonable doubt and once that is done the burden of proof showing that such non-compliance did not substantially affect the result of the election shifts to the respondent. The position of the law is such that he who asserts must show the proof.
Justice Ngwuata in his own said: “I dismissed the appeal and adopt the conclusions of the lead judgment”.

Meanwhile, Justice Mahmud who presided over the six-man panel of justices that delivered the judgment said: “From the day CPC filed its petition, we know it was bound to fail, saying that cases are taken to tribunals in pursuit of two vital reliefs namely: to declare the petitioner winner or to ask INEC to conduct a fresh election.”
He observed that in the instant appeal, none of these featured and as such there is no way such an appeal can succeed.
Besides, he urged the lawyers to always tell their clients the truth and offer them proper legal advice, apparently saying that the matter ought not to have been brought to court, considering the procedural error accompanying the filing of the petition.

In his response to the judgment, the Minister of Information, Mr. Labran Maku, said that the judgment of the court had vindicated PDP just as he said that CPC is a regional party that cannot rule the federation.
He noted that Buhari concentrated his campaign in the northern part of the country and that there was no way such an act would have brought victory to CPC at the presidential poll and that even where CPC got some votes in the North, one would find that such area is either PDP or ANPP.
The lead lawyer to the CPC, Mr. Oladipo Okpeseyi (SAN) said that the Supreme Court was like an oracle, saying that his client would abide by the Supreme Court verdict while the lead lawyer of the PDP, Chief Joe Gadzama (SAN) said the judgment was well-considered.

Applauding the unanimous decision of the seven justices of the Supreme Court in affirming his Jonathan yesterday implored Buhari for the umpteenth time, to “mobilise his supporters across the country to join in the process of national reconciliation and national renaissance”.

Speaking through his spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, the president noted in a statement made available to LEADERSHIP that he expected that General Buhari would continue to contribute positively to national development.

Jonathan said even before the verdict by the highest court in the land  which put a final seal of approval on his election, his victory had already been acknowledged by the vast majority of ordinary Nigerians, political parties and the international community.

He also commended Buhari for availing himself of the country’s legal and judicial system in expressing his reservations about the conduct of the elections.
The statement reads in part: “Now that that process has run its full course, President Jonathan hopes that General Buhari and his party will accept the ruling of the esteemed Judges of the Supreme Court in good faith and join hands with him and other well-meaning Nigerians to build a united, stronger and prosperous nation that present and future generations of Nigerians can be proud of.
“President Jonathan thanks all Nigerians once again for their trust and confidence which gave the Jonathan/Sambo ticket an overwhelming victory in the elections.

“He assures the nation that the federal government, under his leadership, will remain fully focused on its objectives and continue to work assiduously to implement its agenda for national transformation in fulfillment of his promise of better living conditions for all Nigerians”.
Reacting to the Supreme Court judgment on the appeal filed by his party against the earlier judgement of the Court of Appeal in favour of Jonathan, Buhari also said that law and order had broken down and steps must be taken to avert a disaster in the year, particularly in reducing the cost of governance.

He said: “All who witnessed the conduct of the 2011 elections would know that this decision of the Supreme Court is politically motivated and has little judicial content.” The CPC candidate suggested that some very vital issues were ignored by the Supreme Court.

“No election is credible where 100% of votes cast were for one candidate in many constituencies and 90% in some states. This is plain fraud. No election can be validated if 100% of those registered all cast their votes in favour of the same candidate.”

He said, “It is for these reasons INEC refused to release the biometric data. The Supreme Court has turned a blind eye and deaf ear to these gross irregularities. That is the theme running through all three elections since 2003.”
On the state of security, Buhari said, “The country now is in an emergency situation. Law and order can break down at any time. Those in charge of the country should be warned that promises and sweet words are no substitute for practical action.”

“To avert the looming chaos in the new  year, immediate steps should be taken to drastically reduce the cost of governance in the three tiers of government. Salaries and especially allowances should be drastically reduced; security votes should be abolished – not increased as the 2012 Budget has done.

“Votes for the Armed forces, Police and Security Services should be transparent and accountable; foreign travel and estacodes should be stopped for at least six months other than for the Presidency, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and medical emergencies. Government House expenses in all the states should be drastically reduced, foreign travel suspended for a while. “

The National Assembly, he said, “should give a lead in reducing their allowances substantially and stopping their foreign travels.” He also said that while the country is sliding into this chaotic state, PDP governments at the centre and in the states are engaged in massive and mindless plunder of the country’s resources in total disregard of the suffering masses.

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Posted by on Dec 29 2011. Filed under Goodluck Jonathan (2010-present), Judiciary, Muhammadu Buhari (1983-85), Presidency. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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