- Keyamo has berated Prof Nwabueze over his comment on Supreme Court's judgment in Atiku vs Buhari case
- The apex court had struck out the appeal filed by ex-vice president, Atiku Abubakar, against incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari's victory
- Prof Nwabueze had also faulted the constitution of the panel of judges that sat on the appeal
The minister of state for labour and employment, Festus Keyamo, has carpeted foremost constitutional lawyer, Prof Ben Nwabueze, over his comment on the judgment of Supreme Court in the appeal filed by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, against the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 general election.
Legit.ng gathered that after the judgment of the apex court that struck out Atiku's appeal and upheld Buhari's election, Nwabueze held a press conference to criticise the legality upon which judgment was based.
Reacting to Prof Nwabueze's submission in a statement sent to Legit.ng on Wednesday, November 6, Keyamo held that the legal icon erred in his comments about the Supreme Court's judgement, adding that he allowed his emotion and love for the PDP and Atiku to override his professional etiquette.
He said: "I came to the conclusion that when the issue involved is not personal, but one of national interest, it behooves any concerned and informed Nigerian to set the record straight for the sake of posterity. This is more so because Prof. Nwabueze did not speak from the position of an elder statesman. His affection and support for the PDP and its presidential candidate was clearly in display before and after the election.
"His passionate, tearful embrace of Atiku Abubakar and his famous declaration that he would not die until Atiku Abubakar becomes president in 2019 was one of the high points of the last election. His wheel-chair appearance at the Court of Appeal in support of Atiku was also iconic. It was perfectly within his legitimate rights to take this position. After all, other eminent citizens of such age and stature also supported President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC."
Keyamo, who wrote in his personal capacity as a senior advocate of Nigeria and not as minister, also noted that Nwabueze took his political conviction too far by seeking to destroy the reputation and integrity of the Supreme Court on the altar of politics.
He said the respected lawyer delved into the practice and procedure of the apex court in hearing and determining time-bound appeals and the propriety or otherwise of same when viewed in the light of the provisions of section 36(1) of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, 1999.
The minister also noted that Nwabueze's submissions contained deliberate misinformation given his pedigree which become magnified when viewed vis-à-vis the provisions of the law, the settled decisions of courts and the precedents already long established by the apex court.
The statement read in part: “We have examined all the briefs of argument and the exhibits for over two weeks and we have all agreed that there is no merit in this appeal. The appeal is hereby dismissed. Reasons to be given on a date to be announced.
"Finally and in reply to the learned professor’s rhetorical inquiry as to the makeup of the panel in question and the timeline of the appointment of its members, it is important to note that the Supreme Court is under no legal obligation, neither has it been the practice, to publish or furnish the names of members of the panel to hear an appeal to the parties before the hearing of the appeal.
"In conclusion, rather than crucifying my lords at the apex court for hearing the appeal on the 30th of October, 2019 and deciding same on the same date, my lords ought to be commended for coming to court prepared and hearing and dismissing the appeal with dispatch."
Meanwhile, Legit.ng also previously reported that the PDP reportedly began its journey to 2023 following Atiku's defeat at the Supreme Court recently.
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