Buhari vs Jonathan: Tuesday Is Judgment Day


Ruling has been slated for Tuesday by the Presidential Election Tribunal sitting in Abuja on the petition filed by the Congress for Progressives Change [CPC] to challenge the declaration of President Goodluck Jonathan as the winner of Nigeria’s presidential elections held on April 16, 2011.

In a notice to counsels in the matter, the tribunal scheduled judgment Tuesday, November 1, 2011 by 9am.

Meanwhile, The Supreme Court in Abuja, on Monday, struck out President Goodluck Jonathan’s appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal to hear the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC)’s petition against his victory at the April elections.

Five justices, led by Justice Walter Onnoghen held that the appeal was no longer relevant in view of the fact that the petition had been heard and judgement reserved.

While delivering the ruling, Justice Onnonghen pointed out that the panel took judicial notice of the non-compliance with the 60 days set aside by law within which the appeal must be heard after the decision of the Court of Appeal. He said “the principal applicant and the other nominal applicants have not proved to the court that the appeal is still alive, we also thought that the appeal was dead in view of the fact that the petition had been heard. The appeal is, therefore, struck out for lack of merit.”

President Goodluck Jonathan, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) jointly challenged the July 6 decision of the tribunal, which upheld the filing of the CPC’s petition on a Sunday.

Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), counsel to the petitioners had submitted that the petitioner violated both the country and international legal statutes by filing the petition on a non-working day.

PDP’s counsel, Joe Gadzama (SAN), stated that the 60 days stipulated by law for the appeal to be heard after the ruling did not lapse.

The applicants had alleged that CPC’s action was frivolous as it compromised the provisions of the Electoral Act and the rules on the Sunday of Servant Act of 1677.

The Sunday of Servant Act is a statute of general interpretation which mandates members of the UN not to carry out businesses on a Sunday.

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