Legal Nigeria

Cross River North: Appeal Court refuses to review judgment given in Jarigbe’s favour

By Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Saturday dismissed two applications requesting it to review its July 30 judgment affirming Jarigbe Ago Jarigbe as the valid candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the December 5, 2020 by-election in Cross River North Senatorial District.

A five-member panel of the court, led by its President, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, unanimously held in two rulings, that the court lacked the jurisdiction to sit on appeal over its decision.

It noted that by the provision of Section 246(3) of the Constitution,the decision of the Court of Appeal on appeals from election tribunal on legislative matters is final in the case of National/State Houses of Assembly elections, adding that the Constitution did not empower it to review, amend or set aside its final decision.

The two rulings were on the applications filed by Joe Odey Agi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Stephen Adi Odey of the PDP – marked: CA/C/195m/2021 and CA/C/199m/2021.

The court held that the reasons given in the applications did not fall within those prescribed in Order 20 Rule 4 of the Court of Appeal Rules 2016 under which the court could engage in the correction of clerical mistakes or accidental slip or omission that has no capacity to change the substance of the judgment earlier. given.

The court dismissed both applications and awarded N1million each in favour of the first and second respondents in each of the. applications – Odey and Jarigbe (in respect of the application by Agi) and Agi and Jarigbe (in the one filed by Odey)

Justice Dongban-Mensem, who read the lead rulings in both applications, held that what the applicants sought was for the court to sit on appeal over its decisions, a power the Court of Appeal lacked.

She held that the court, by its judgment given on July 30 at the Calabar division, performed its task/duty under Section 246(3) of the Constitution by entering judgment in its final appellate jurisdiction in the case and could no longer review it.

She added that the Constitution that conferred final appellate jurisdiction on her court on election petitions in relation to National and State Assemblies elections, did not empower it to review its final decisions.

On the application by Agi and his party, she noted that the applicants made grave allegations against the court’s Calabar division (where the earlier judgement was given) but failed to provide evidence in support of the allegations.