Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) has appealed the ruling of the Governorship and House of Assembly Tribunal sitting in Abeokuta, Ogun State in a petition brought before it by the party over the omission of its name on the ballot papers used in conducting the 2023 gubernatorial election in the state.
The party said it was appealing the ruling before the Court of Appeal in Ibadan, because the trial judges erred in their judgment.
The tribunal had, on April, 15, 2023, dismissed the petition against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the first respondent, Abiodun Adedapo Olusegun, second respondent and the All Progressives Congress (APC) as third respondent, on the ground that the debrief counsel asked for the discontinuation and withdrawal of the petition.
But the NNPP, in its appeal filed on May, 22, 2023 on the suit No: EPT/OG/GOV/01/2023, through its counsel, I D Izunya (Esq), informed the Court of Appeal sitting in the Ibadan Judicial Division, that it was dissatisfied with the unanimous judgment by the three judges.
The party, while reiterating its position against the judgement, averred that: “The learned justices erred in law when they unanimously held that by article 27.18 (iii), (v) and (vii) of the constitution of New Nigeria Peoples Party (hereinafter called NNPP) the National Legal Adviser of NNPP cannot take over the appellant case, brief another counsel and debrief the counsel on record, Mr. Peter I 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 I 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, Peter I 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 un-authorization of withdrawal of petition dated 27th day of April, 2023 and filed on the 29th day of April, 2023 written by the appellant herself through the National Legal Adviser.
“That the appellant’s 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.”