Ogun Governorship election: NNPP appeals against tribunal’s ruling
The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) has appealed against the ruling of the Ogun Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abeokuta, dismissing its petition against the election victory of the APC candidate, Dapo Abiodun and INEC.
The NNPP had filed the petition at the tribunal against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over omission of the party’s name on the ballot papers used in conducting the 2023 gubernatorial election in the state, praying for cancellation of the election.
It would be recalled that the tribunal had on April, 15 dismissed the petition against INEC as the first respondent; Dapo Abiodun, second respondent and APC, third respondent on the ground that NNPP’s debrief counsel asked for discontinuation and withdrawal of the petition.
But, in its appeal filed on May, 22, on the suit No: EPT/OG/GOV/01/2023 at the Court of Appeal, Ibadan on Friday, the NNPP Counsel, Mr I. D Izunya, stated that the party was dissatisfied with the tribunal’s judgment.
Reiterating its position as contained in the petition No. EPT/OG/GOV/01/2023 of April 15, it averred : “The learned justices erred in law when they unanimously held that by article 27.18 (iii), (v) and (vii) of the constitution of NNPP the National Legal Adviser of NNPP cannot take over the appellant case, brief another counsel and debrief the counsel on record, Mr Peter Ogah, from further representing the party.
“That by Article 27.18 (iii), (v) and (vi) of the Constitution of NNPP, the National Legal Adviser of the party is empowered to attend to all litigations and legal defence on behalf of the party at all levels, including its organs and coordinate the activities of Legal Advisers at all levels on legal matters affecting the party.
“That the learned counsel on record, Mr Peter Ogar, being engaged to represent the appellant by an organ/branch of the appellant is by virtue of the Constitution of the appellant under the control and supervision of the National Legal Adviser of the appellant.
“That Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) 2018 provided and recognised the right of the appellant to debrief and brief another counsel at any time of the proceeding.
“The learned Justices of the tribunal erred in law when they allowed learned counsel, Mr Peter Ogar, to successfully withdraw the appellant’s petition and dismissed same when the provisions laid down by the Electoral Act, 2022 for the withdrawal of Petition has not been complied with.
“Section 30 (1) (a) & (b) of the Electoral Act, 2022 clearly provides that before leave for withdrawal of an election petition can be granted each of the parties, in this case all the respondents shall produce an affidavit stating that no agreement or terms of any kind has been made and no undertaking has been entered.
“That the withdrawal of the appellant petition was done without the affidavit required by Electoral Act.
“The learned Justices of the tribunal erred in law when they allowed the learned counsel to move motion for withdrawal of the appellants petition despite a protest letter of unauthorisation of withdrawal of petition dated April 27, 2023 and filed on April 29, 2023 written by the appellant herself through the National Legal Adviser.
“That the appellant name is on the petition and not the lawyer’s name.
“That the appellant is the litigant and the person whose name appeared on the process of the court and therefore the Chief Executive Officer and driver of her case who drives and determines what and how the case should proceed.”
The party prayed the order of the Court of Appeal to quash the withdrawal and dismissal of the petition and restored it to be put on the case list of the tribunal for the appellant to prosecute the petition the manner its deemed necessary.