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Justice Odili in Supreme Court Panel reviewing Bayelsa Guber judgement

Justice Mary Odili is a member of the seven-member panel of the Supreme Court, tasked with reviewing the judgement of the apex court that sacked…

Justice Mary Odili is a member of the seven-member panel of the Supreme Court, tasked with reviewing the judgement of the apex court that sacked Bayelsa governor-elect, David Lyon.

Justice Odili presided over a five-member panel of justices of the Court that sacked Lyon and his Deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo.
The panel in a unanimous judgement on Feb. 13, held that Degi-Eremieoyo presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Meanwhile the Supreme Court is set to rule on the fresh application by the All Progressives Congress (APC) seeking a review of the judgement of February 13 which sacked Lyon.

A seven-member panel presided by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta announced a stand down of the application after listening to lawyers in the matter.

Earlier lawyers to Lyon and APC, Afe Babalola and Wole Olanipekun, both Senior Advocates of Nigeria, asked the apex court to review its judgement for violating natural justice.

Olanipekun argued that the judgement of the Federal High Court which disqualified the deputy governorship candidate of the APC, Degi Eremionyo and upheld by the Supreme Court, did not make a consequential order on the governorship candidate and the swearing-in of PDP’s Duoye Diri.

But in their replies, Tayo Oyetibo, Yunus Ustaz Usman and Chris Uche for Governor Diri and PDP, asked the court to dismiss the application for being an abuse of court process. They submitted that the court cannot review itself after a full trial except on grounds of fraud or clerical errors.

The APC returned to the Supreme Court with an application urging it to reverse its decision disqualifying its candidate in the last governorship election in Bayelsa State, Lyon David.

The party, in an application filed by its team of lawyers led by Wole Olanipekun (SAN) and Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), also wants the apex court to set aside the “wrong” interpretation given to its judgement of February 13, 2020 and its subsequent execution by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

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

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

The party also faulted the interpretation given to the apex court’s judgement by the INEC in deciding to issue the certificate of return to the candidate of the PDP.

“In this honourable court’s judgement 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,” APC averred.


Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect that Justice Mary Odili is a member of the panel. 

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