A former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof Chidi Odinkalu, has described the Supreme Court’s failure to present a documented judgment on the appeal of the Labour Party’s presidential candidate in the 2023 general elections, Peter Obi, as a “Supreme scandal and height of judicial malefaction.”
Odinkalu said this on Thursday while reacting to the controversies trailing the apex court’s failure to release the Certified True Copy (CTC) of its judgment on Obi’s case after over a month it dismissed the appeals of Obi and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for lacking in merit.
SaharaReporters on October 26 reported that the Supreme Court affirmed the election of President Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), after it upheld the judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal that dismissed Obi and Atiku’s appeals for lacking in merit.While the apex court released the CTC of its judgment on Atiku’s case almost a month after it delivered its ruling, the court has not released the same document on Obi’s case, prompting Obi and the Labour Party to raise an alarm over the court’s action.
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Reacting to the controversies on his X (former Twitter), Odinkalu said, “I don’t know why people are speculating about the Supreme Court & CTC in @peterobi’s case.
“The fact is clear that @SupremeCourtNg does not have a judgment in the case. That is a #SupremeScandal.
“What I get from reading this is simply that @SupremeCourtNg adlibbed that the case of @PeterObi would abide by the judgment in the case of @atiku in order deliberately to avoid going on record about inconvenient issues. If so, that would be the height of judicial malefaction.”The Labour Party had in a statement issued on Tuesday by its National Secretary, Umar Farouk Ibrahim, raised an alarm that the Supreme Court has refused to give the party the ruling on Obi’s appeal since October 26.
The party had stated that “On the 26th of October, 2023, LP and her lawyers were in Court. The Supreme Court proceeded to read the judgment in Appeal No. SC/CV/935/2023 filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). After that, the Presiding Justice, His Lordship John Inyang Okoro JSC, verbally stated that the decision in the LP appeal would abide by the judgment just delivered in respect of the PDP appeal!”
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The party further stated that “The two appeals were not even consolidated at the Supreme Court but were heard separately.
“At the separate hearing of both appeals, the question was never raised, the parties never agreed, and the Court neither gave a directive nor ordered that the judgment in one appeal would abide by the decision in the other.“The petitions from where the two appeals arose were heard separately at the Court of Appeal based on separate pleadings and different sets of witnesses. Thus, the facts of the two petitions were remarkably different.
“The LP finds it very embarrassing and depressing that the Supreme Court would, after hearing the appeal by our party, refuse to deliver any judgment and also fail to avail our party of any copy of whatever it considers to be its decision.
“With every sense of responsibility, the LP believes that the Supreme Court’s conduct is regrettable and unprecedented. This constitutes an unmitigated breach of the constitutional right of LP and her candidate to a fair hearing.”