A Constitutional Lawyer, Dr Kayode Ajulo, has said the Supreme Court judgment which restored Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, as the Senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Yobe North Senatorial district is valid and sound.
Speaking in Abuja on Tuesday amidst the controversy that has trailed the verdict, he said most of the counter comments targeted against the Supreme Court’s decision under reference were misconceived, particularly from the perspective of the law.
The Supreme Court had, on Feb 6 declared Lawan as the Senatorial candidate for Yobe North in a three-against-two split judgment of its five-member panel, led by Justice Chima Nweze.
The apex court in its judgment voided and set aside the decision of the Federal High Court and Court of Appeal which had earlier confirmed Bashir Machina as the candidate.
According to Ajulo, “The Supreme Court delivered a sound judgment based on the case presented before it. The concept of justice is not about a crying baby who runs to his sweet mother, adding that unlike the empathetic mother, the Supreme Court has the obligation to decide any matter based on its peculiarities.”
The lawyer, who disregarded opinions that labelled the judgment as ridiculous, said a better appreciation of Nigeria’s justice system would reveal that what the Court considered was cold facts and not emotions.
He said the APC should be blamed for any controversy the apex court decision had generated.
He said, “It baffles me how people demand substantial and fair judgement but still frown at technicality. Whereas, the same technicality is the law. The concept of law is based on a technicality and that’s what those who seem uncomfortable with the apex court ruling must understand.
“The whole world is aware that Lawan participated in the APC presidential primaries and pursuant to the provisions of Section 115(d) of the Electoral Act; a candidate cannot be nominated in two elections.
“So, it was the APC that forwarded Lawan’s name to INEC, that ironically created Lawan as President and another as lawmaker.”
He said Machina, feeling cheated was within his right to recover his mandate, adding however, that the facts of the case remained that the grouse of Machina bothered on fraud.
He added that this should have been instituted by way of Writ of Summons and not Originating Summons like Machina did.
According to him, although the Federal High Court practice direction says that pre-election matters be instituted by way of originating summons.
He however said that the Supreme Court has held in a plethora of authorities that the rules of court supersede a practice direction.
He said by the rules of court, an allegation of fraud should be brought by way of Writ of Summons.
He added that this had been the consistent holding of the Supreme Court in a plethora of matters and it won’t stop now.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) the in split judgment of three to two, the Supreme Court, affirmed Lawan as the Senatorial candidate of the APC for Yobe North Senatorial District, 18 days to the general elections.
The apex court in the majority judgment voided and set aside judgments of the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal, which affirmed Machina as the candidate, having won the May 28, 2022 primary unopposed.
Justice Nweze, who delivered the majority judgment of the Supreme Court, held that Machina ought to commence his case at the Federal High Court with writ of summons in view of grievous allegations in his suit against the defendants.
Nweze said that hostile issues were involved in Machina’s matter that could not be resolved through originating summons.
However, Justices Adamu Jauro and Emmanuel Akomaye Agim, disagreed with the majority judgment and held that both the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal were correct in their findings in declaring Machina as APC’s Senatorial candidate for the Yobe North.
According to them, Lawan never participated in the APC primary held on May 28, as he withdrew voluntarily to participate in the presidential primary held on June 8.
The minority decision held that the conduct of another primary on June 9, where Lawan emerged was in breach of Section 84 (5) of the Electoral Act and Section 285 of the 1999 Constitution, as the APC never cancelled the one held on May 28 before organising another.