S’Court Dismissed Interlocutory Appeal Challenging Tribunal’s Ruling, Main Appeal Stands — Gbagi’s Media Team Clarifies

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The media team of Olorogun Barr. Kenneth Gbagi’s Campaign Council has debunked rumors making the rounds that the Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), governorship candidate.

The Media Team while clearing the air, noted that what was dismissed was an application to tender a federal government gazette allegedly forged by Sheriff Oborevwori, and not the main appeal.

The media team therefore urged the public to ignore posts in the social media that the Apex Court had dismissed the Appeal of Gbagi.

In a statement by Kenneth Orusi, Chief Press Secretary, to the SDP flag bearer in the March 18th election said: “Our attention has been drawn to the deluge of lies and propaganda being peddled about which was posted on the social media.

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) supporters in Delta State are lying that Gbagi’s appeal has been struck out by the Supreme Court.

The statement wondered why the PDP and its social media boys would misinform the general public, by casting misleading headlines.

“For the avoidance of doubt, what was dismissed, was an interlocutory appeal filed by Gbagi, FNIM, OON, against the ruling of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Asaba, the State capital.

“Dissatisfied with the tribunal’s ruling, Gbagi, a renowned Criminologist and a senior lawyer approached the Court of Appeal to upturn that decision of the tribunal.

“The same ruling was what the Supreme Court held yesterday Thursday and not an appeal challenging the dismissal of the governorship election petition which judgement was decided on Friday September 29th 2023, at the tribunal.

“In fact, the legal team to Olorogun Gbagi, on Thursday October 12th 2023, has filed the necessary appeal against that laughable and miscarriage of justice called judgement delivered by the tribunal, read by Hon. Justice Hadiza L. Musa.

It would be recalled that on Saturday August 12th 2023, the lead counsel to Gbagi, Mr. Mato Magaji Ibrahim, SAN, informed the tribunal that he and his colleagues who appeared with him are here to adopt the final written address but filed a harmless application, seeking the indulgence of his lordships to move the application before the adoption of the final written address.

The application was a motion on notice brought pursuant to section 36 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) paragraph 47 of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act, 2022 and under the inherent powers of the honourable tribunal.

It is for an order granting leave to the Petitioners/Applicants to make the application at post hearing session, an order granting leave to the Petitioners/Applicants to re-open their case for the purpose of tendering document(s) from the bar and any such Order(s) this court deem fit to make having regards to the circumstance of this case.

In support of the application, the Petitioners/Applicants armed themselves with an Affidavit of 15 paragraphs duly deposed to by Kenneth Orusi, the Chief Press Secretary to the 1st Petitioner, which they “rely heavily on all the averments as contained in the affidavit”, urging the panel to grant their prayers.

An exhibit, alleged forged Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette, by Sheriff Oborevwori, dated 5th May 2022, was attached to the application.

The petitioners/Applicants also attached a letter from the Office of the Head Of Civil Service of the federation, dated July 28th 2023, in response to a letter dated 26th July 2023, requesting for the verification of the Gazette dated 5th May 2022.

The response letter reads in part: “I wish to confirm that the said Gazette did not emanate from this office. Gazette for 5th May 2022, is still at author’s proof state and has not been printed”.

However, this met a very stiff resistance on the ground argued by the panel chairman that the application was ‘Novel”, which is not actually the truth about this application as the position of the law was well articulated, citing the cases of Samson Awoyake v. Joshua O. Ogunbiyi (1985) and Nebo v. FCFA (1998) 11 NWLR (Pt 574) 480 at 489-493 (per Kalgo JCA as he then was.

With due respect, unfortunately, the application was dismissed by the three-man Justices of the tribunal comprising Hon. Justice E. Enenche, Hon. Justice Hadiza L. Musa and Chaired by Hon. Justice C. H. Ahuchaogu, who held that the application was novel in the circumstances.

The media team reiterated its confidence that justice would be done in the matter and urged SDP and Gbagi’s supporters to be optimistic on the outcome of the appeal when it commences.

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