Congress For Progressive Change & Ors V. Mallam Isa Yuguda & Ors (2012)
LAWGLOBAL HUB Lead Judgment Report
On the 7/1/2012 the Court of Appeal wrote a Judgment in the following terms as per the decision of OWOADE, JCA which was concurred to by the other members who sat the appeal panel as follows:-
“I have gone through the submission for and against the four issues nominated for determination by the learned senior counsel for the appellants. The four issues are resolved as against the appellants. Consequently, this appeal lacks merit and is accordingly dismissed. The Judgment of the Tribunal is affirmed. The question of Costs would be dealt with when Reasons for Judgment are given at a later date.”
It is common ground by all the parties, that this judgment is invalid, ordinarily a judgment must demonstrate in full, a dispassionate consideration of all the issues properly raised and heard and must reflect of such an exercise. It must show a clear resolution of all the issues that arise for decision in the case and end up with the ultimate verdict which flows logically from the facts and the law. See EZEOKE VS. NWAGBO 1986 1 NWLR 616. It is now beyond any dispute that such a judgment in an election matter falls in breach of section 285 (8) of the Constitution and is a null and void Judgment.
By leave of this Court, the appellant applied, to amend the Notice of Appeal by complaining on the failure for the Court of Appeal to deliver a valid Judgment and applies to this Court to invoke the provisions of section 22 of the Supreme Act to rehear the appeal and enter judgment which the Court of Appeal would have legitimately entered.The learned counsels for the respondents filed Preliminary Objections to the hearing of the appeal. They relied on the decisions of this court delivered on 2/3/2012 in the case of SC.17/2012 that is PDP vs. OKOROCHA and OTHERS and also suit No. SC.18 and 18A/2012. CHIEF GREAT OGBORU and another vs. DR. EMMANUEL EWETAN UDUAGHAN. Which decided that since there was no valid Judgment there cannot be valid appeal in the instant matter. In his judgment Hon. Justice I. T. Muhammad, JSC in the lead Judgment in the OGBORU case supra stated:-
“Therefore, as the reasons for the Judgment of the Court below were delivered on the 27/1/2012 outsides the 60 days limited by the Constitution, there is no valid Judgment worthy of pursuing on appeal. Accordingly I declare the judgment for the court of below delivered on 6/1/2012, including its reasonings delivered on 27/1/2012 as null and void. It amounts to a nullity.
I sustain the preliminary objection of the 3rd respondent”.
Also in the ROCHAS OKOROCHA’S each NGWUTA, JSC who read the lead Judgment had this to say:-
“It would have been an act of disservice to the administration of justice if the Court had closed its eyes to the defect in the Judgment appealed against and proceed to determine the appeal on its merit. This would be in conflict with other recent decisions of this Court on section 285 of the Constitution and the conflicting Judgments would have made the law uncertain, see SC.141/2011, SC.766/2011, SC.267/2011, SC.282/2011 etc”.
In view of the several decisions of this Court on this issue, though it may be hard on Litigants, yet it is matter beyond dispute deliberately set up by the Constitution on electoral matters to avoid prolonged and protracted litigations.
This Court cannot invoke the provisions of section 22 of the Supreme Court Act to save this appeal, as the lower court by effluxion of time now lacks the jurisdiction to adjudicate on the appeal. To do so will amount to this court hearing the appeal complaining against the decision of the Tribunal for which this court would have no jurisdiction and indeed the 60 days within which to hear the appeal against the decision of the Tribunal had expired. In view of the earlier decisions of this Court on these matters which are binding upon us, we have no option other than to uphold the preliminary objections and strike the appeal.
The appeal is accordingly struck out. I make no order as to cost.