Cross River North: Supreme Court throws out Odey, PDP’s appeal

The Supreme Court Thursday struck out the appeals filed by Senator Stephen Odey and the (), saying it was defective.

The apex court had in a split decision of four to three, gave the verdict while ruling over , between Senator Stephen Adi Odey and Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe, is the authentic candidate of the () in the December 5, by-election in Cross River North Senatorial District.

Justices Abdu Aboki, Tijani Abubakar and Sameul Oseji agreed with Justice Nweze’s .

Justices Musa Datijo Mohammad ( led the seven-man panel), Helen Ogunwumiju and Emmanuel Agim held otherwise in the dissenting minority judgement

Justice Centus Chima Nweze, read the lead majority judgment in the disputed legal battle, held that the notice of appeal filed in the appeal by Odey, marked: SC/CV/9/ was defective because it did not reflect the personal addresses of the first and second respondents in the appeal, Jarigbe and John Alaga.

Justice Nweze held that although the notice of appeal bore the addresses of their lawyers and it was served on them, the appellant’s failure to serve the notice personally on the parties, as against their lawyers, robbed the court the necessary jurisdiction to hear the appeal.

He added that the order of substituted service later obtained by the appellant, and which was executed could not have cured the defect occasioned by the improper service, because the Supreme Court lacked the jurisdiction to have granted the ex-parte order for substituted service.

Justice Nweze said the improper service of the notice of appeal amounted to a non-service which touches on the respondents’ right to fair hearing.

He then upheld the preliminary objections raised by Alaga and Jarigbe and proceeded to strike out the appeal.

Odey had, in the appeal, prayed the Supreme Court to, among others, set aside a portion of the judgment delivered by the Court of Appeal, Abuja on December 17, directing INEC to recognise Jarigbe as the candidate of the for the by-election.

Odey added that the Court of Appeal, in its December 17, judgment “refused to set aside the consequential orders made by the trial court, despite finding that the case filed before the High Court by Alaga was an abuse of judicial process.”

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