…rules Sardaunan Badarawa’s case lacked merit
A Federal High Court sitting in the Federal Capital Territory ( FCT), Abuja, on Wednesday, dismissed a suit filed by Usman Ibrahim ( Sardaunan Badarawa ) challenging the nomination of Sen Lawal Adamu Usman by the People’s Democratic Party ( PDP) for lack of merit.
The plaintiff had in his suit claimed that he was the duly nominated candidate of the PDP at the February 25th Senatorial election by virtue of his nomination in a primary conducted by the party on November 7, 2022.
Delivering his lengthy judgement on the matter, the presiding judge of the Federal High Court, Maitama, Abuja, Justice James Kolawole Omotosho, examined all the contending issues brought pursuant to the determination of the suit by both the plaintiffs and the defendants.
The court, while seeking to resolve the dispute, formulated four issues for determination viz:
- Whether the court had jurisdiction to entertain the matter pursuant to a claim by counsel to Mr LAA that the court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the suit since it is statute barred
- Whether or not the case constitutes an abuse of court process.
3.Whether the suit constitutes estoppel res judicata
- Whether or not the case has merit as to be adjudicated upon.
In resolving this thorny issues, Justice Omotosho resolved the first issue in favour of the plaintiffs, citing judicial authorities from the Supreme Court that had decided on it. He therefore assumed jurisdiction in the case.
While delivering his ruling on this matter, the Honourable judge concluded that the suit amounted to an abuse of court process, as the matter had been decided by the Appeal Court and affirmed by the Supreme Court.
He likened the suit to a judicial rascality, which amounted to a review of the judgement of the Supreme Court.
He observed that it is trite to review the judgment of the Supreme Court no matter how dissatisfied you are with it and that it is an enforceable judgment everywhere in Nigeria.
While determining whether the suit amounted to estoppel res judicata, the learned judge stated that one is not empowered by law to re-litigate what has been decided upon. He likened the action to the flogging of a dead horse that is consigned to the dustbin of history.
Finally on the merit or otherwise of the suit and whether the plaintiff was the duly nominated candidate of the PDP, Justice Omotosho averred, “In claiming candidacy of the party because the third defendant, the PDP, only submitted his name to the fourth defendant, INEC, the plaintiff failed to take notice that the 3rd ( PDP) defendant was part of the suit in the Supreme Court.”
He further stated that the judgment of the Court of Appeal had nullified the judgment of the Federal High Court, which ordered a rerun leading to the plaintiffs nomination.
The judge observed, “A judgement can be set aside even where the outcome has been executed,” stressing that since the plaintiff’s nomination was set aside by the Appellate Court, he ceased to be a nominee of the party.
Justice Omotosho also wondered whether a person who is not a candidate can be unlawfully substituted. He reviewed the decision of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP, which confirmed that they did not conduct an investigation before taking a decision on the rerun election.
He concluded by affirming that the decision of the party is final.
The plaintiffs in their suit made a claim of N60million, and since the suit was dismissed, they lost both the claim and the case.