Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Supreme Court wednesday struck out the appeal filed by a faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara State led by Ishola Balogun-Fulani.
A five-man panel of justices of the apex court presided by Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, struck out the appeal on the grounds that it was incompetent, having not filed within the stipulated time allowed by law.
Balogun-Fulani and other members of the dissolved state Executive of the Kwara State APC, had approached the apex court to challenge the powers of the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, to arbitrarily dissolve the state executive committee of the party when their four-year tenure had not expired.
Oshiomhole after dissolving the Balogun-Fulani-led executive last year, inaugurated a caretaker committee, headed by Bashir Bolarinwa.
Fulani in the appeal filed on behalf of other state executive members of the party, asked the Supreme Court to restrain Oshiomhole from further recognising and dealing with Bolarinwa group as the officers of the party in the state.
However, in a unanimous ruling, the five-man panel struck out the appeal on the grounds that it was unmeritorious.
In the ruling delivered by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, the apex court held that the notice of appeal and the manner in which the appeal were brought before it were in violation of Section 14 of the 4th Alteration Act of the 1999 constitution.
According to Justice Ariwoola, the record of proceedings was transmitted from the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court after 14 days required by law for the appellant to do so.
The court said that by the failure to comply with the provision of the law, the appeal had become incompetent in law and liable to be struck out.
The Fulani-led excited had approached the apex court with a motion dated March 4, 2019, praying the court to hear the appeal on the grounds that it was a pre-election matter that must be decided within 60 days.
Counsel to the appellants, Yussuf Ali (SAN), in his argument told the court that the 60 days allowed by law for the appeal to be heard by the court would expire tomorrow (Friday).
Responding, Oshiomhole’s lawyer, Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN), objected to the hearing of the appeal on the grounds that the appeal was not a pre-election matter that must be heard within 60 days by law.
Olujinmi submitted that the appellants premised their case on misconception, adding that there was nowhere in the court process they filed where they claimed that they participated in any primary election.
In his argument, lawyer to the Kwara State APC Caretaker Committee, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), while stressing that the appeal has been caught up by the 4th Alteration Act, submitted that there was no valid appeal before the apex court as the judgment being appealed arose from an interlocutory ruling of the trial court.
However, in its ruling the five-member panel of justices of the apex court agreed with Fagbemi that the appeal was incompetent, having been filed outside the 14 days permitted by law.
“This application is incompetent and liable to be struck out. It is adjudged to be lacking in merit and should be dismissed.
“In the circumstances, this appeal is hereby dismissed for been incompetent,” Justice Ariwoola held.
The appellants had approached the apex court to challenge the powers of the national chairman of APC, to arbitrarily dissolve the state executive committee of the party when their four-year tenure had not expired.
The appellant also prayed for another order of the court stopping INEC from accepting nomination of candidates for the 2019 general elections other than the nomination by his group.
A high court in Ilorin had in February gave judgment in favour of the appellant but the judgment of the High Court was set aside by the Court of Appeal, Ilorin division on the grounds that the case of the appellant has become academic, prompting the appeal at the apex court.