The Supreme Court has explained the reasons for its October 30, 2019 judgment, which dismissed the appeal filed by the People’s Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, against the outcome of the February 23, 2019 presidential election.
As it earlier did on October 30, the apex court re-affirmed the September 30, 2019 judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, which had dismissed the PDP petition.
Re-echoing the findings of the lower tribunal, the apex court ruled that Atiku and the PDP failed to prove any of the five major issues formulated in the appeal.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, led the seven-man panel which delivered the unanimous judgment but was absent from the Friday proceedings with three other members of the panel, Justices Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, Olukayode Ariwoola, and Amir Sanusi, while Justice Okoro, Ejembi Eko and Uwani Aba-Aji were present.
The lead judgment which was prepared by the CJN, the judgment was delivered by Justice John Okoro on his behalf.
Meanwhile, none of the over 20 Senior Advocates of Nigeria and over 30 others prosecuting the case for Atiku and his party was present in court on Friday.
On observing that the appellants were not represented, the leader of Buhari’s legal team, Alex Izinyon (SAN), sought to know from the panel if the appellants’ lawyers were served with the hearing notice for the proceedings.
Justice Okoro, who was the most senior among the three Justices present, confirmed that the appellants’ lawyers were served on Wednesday.
Responding, Izinyon apologized to the bench on behalf of the appellants’ legal team led by Dr Livy Uzoukwu.
He said “That is not the practice. It is not the practice for the learned senior lawyers or their juniors not to be here. My lord, we apologise on their behalf,”