As Nigerians await today’s verdict by the presidential election petition tribunal, the lead counsel for the Indigenous People of Biafra, Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor, has cast doubts on what the outcome will be.
He made references to the Appeal Court’s botched discharged and acquittal of IPOB leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and the stay of execution of the ruling by the same Appeal Court.
Ejiofor’s statement read, “As we all are aware, judgment on Presidential Election Petition will be delivered on the 6th day of September 2023 at the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division.
“For those expecting wonders to happen in court, you may have a quagmire to contend with. During my undergraduate days as a law student, we were taught even in law school that decisions of the courts on any subject must be predicated on the following:
A. The Substantive Laws;
B. Rules of Court and Courts Practice Direction; and
C. Judicial Precedents – in this case, it means the judgment/decisions of the superior courts, particularly the Supreme Court’s judgments on similar subjects, facts, and circumstances. Any judgment founded outside the above considerations cannot stand in law.
“Fast forward to the 13th day of October, 2022, the intermediate court in the land, the Court of Appeal, Abuja Judicial Division, delivered a unanimous landmark judgment in an appeal filed by Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, wherein the Court of Appeal discharged Mazi Nnamdi Kanu of all the frivolous charge filed against him and consequently directed the Federal Government to release him unconditionally.
“The penultimate court proceeded to prohibit Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s further detention in any detention facility in Nigeria and forbade Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu from being tried again in any Court in Nigeria on any offence whatsoever.
“The penultimate court did not stop at that; the learned justices of the Court of Appeal unanimously reprimanded the Federal Government for their act of lawlessness in the way Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu was abducted in Kenya and extraordinarily renditioned to Nigeria. They further declared it as an egregious violation of the extant Laws – local and international – by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“Curiously, on the 24th October, 2022, a different Panel of Justices of the same Court of Appeal was constituted, which sat and consequently granted an unprecedented Order, Staying the Execution of Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s constitutionally guaranteed right to personal liberty. Intrinsically, staying the Execution of the same Judgment and far-reaching Orders made by the same Court.
“The fact is that throughout the said Ruling delivered on the 28th day of October, 2022, and argument canvassed by the parties giving rise to the ruling, there was no place that the Federal Government referred to any criminal decisions of either the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court in similar facts, if any, or substantive criminal Laws governing the criminal appeals or Court of Appeal Criminal Practice Direction.
“We refer to the unpopular ruling as unprecedented because the precedents and authorities relied upon by this Panel in staying the execution of the judgment in a criminal appeal were all civil cases and the Court of Appeal Rules on civil appeals.
“[Today], a very renowned Justice of the Court of Appeal who presided over the Panel that delivered this unprecedented Ruling and consequently granted the unpopular order staying the execution of the landmark Judgment in Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s criminal appeal; and who incidentally, also presided over the proceedings at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, will also be delivering his own judgement.
“In view of the fate of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and the obvious travesty of justice in his case, we can only wish those hoping that justice prevails, godspeed, even as all eyes are now on the judiciary.”