The Supreme Court Monday struck out an appeal filed by the National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against the Senator Buruji Kashamu backed leadership of the party in Ogun State.
The suit was struck by Justice Mohammed Musa Dattijo on the ground that the appeal had become statute barred, lifelessand worthless having been overtaken by the 4th Alteration to the1999 Constitution.
PDP in the appeal had challenged the judgment of Justice Buba Ibrahim of the Federal High Court and upheld by the Courtof Appeal which conferred recognition on the Dayo Adebayo led Executive Committee of the party in Ogun State as the authentic leadership.
At the resumed hearing, the court asked theappellant’s lawyer Emeka Etiaba (SAN) whether the case was a pre-electionmatter to which he answered in the negative.
He said the case was about the leadership of the PDP in Ogun State and was not election related.
However, counsel to the Dayo Adebayo led group,Dr. Alex Izinyon SAN insisted that it was a pre-election matter because itrelates to the candidate nomination for the next general election.
He drew the court’s attention to ground 8 of the application filed on December 14, 2018 by the appellant for accelerated hearing of the appeal, where the appellant said the subject of the matter was to determine who are the rightful candidates of the appellant in Ogun State.
He also referred to paragraphs 11, 12 and13 of the affidavit supporting the application where the appellant also saidthat the matter is about the determination of which of the two set of candidates that emanated from the two executive of the party should Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) accept.
He also had informed the court that thesuit has become a mere academic exercise because it has been caught up with aprovision of the 1999 Constitution that a pre-election suit must be filedwithin 14 days.
The Senior Counsel argued before a panel of5 Justices of the Apex Court that the appeal having been filed out of time hasbecome lifeless statute barred and worthless because it cannot confer anybenefit on the appellant.
The court accepted the submissions byIzinyon and held that the case was a pre-election matter, on which the court nolonger has jurisdiction in view of the effect of the 4th AlterationAct.
Although counsel to the appellant Chief Emeka Etiaba SAN made spirited effortsto sway the court to his own side with argument that the suit was not a pre-electionmatter, the Supreme Court refused to accept his argument.
In the drama that ensued, counsel to PDP bowed to the apex court position and withdrew the appeal.
Justice Dattijo in his ruling agreed with izinyon that the appeal has become statute barred and lifeless and consequently struck it out.
The Apex Court held that the precious time of the court and energy of the justices cannot be dissipated on an appeal that will not confer any benefit on the appellant.
With the striking out of the appeal, the coast has become fully cleared for the participation of only the Dayo Adebayo-led leadership in the 2019 general elections.