Election: Political parties spent N800m on Supreme Court review applications

Election: Political parties spent N800m on Supreme Court review applications

- A report has revealed how political parties spent N800 million on Supreme Court review application

- The PDP and APC had taken their legal battles to Supreme Court in Bayelsa and Imo state

- Supreme Court ruled in Imo case that the court lacked jurisdiction to sit on appeal over its judgment of the PDP

A report by Daily Trust reports that political parties and their candidates spent about N800 million in the just concluded election petition judgments review applications at the Supreme Court.

Legit.ng gathered that the report said the lawyers, who appeared in the review applications, noted that the legal fee for any senior lawyer to appear in such reviews is about N100m.

There were four applications for review and each had a number of senior lawyers in appearance, adding that Rivers and Zamfara review applications were filed twice.

If the N100 million paid to each of the opposing parties in the applications are added, it means at least N800 million was spent in the review applications.

It further stated that the applications for review of judgments of the Supreme Court arising from the conduct of the 2019 general elections were filed by parties in Rivers, Imo, Bayelsa and Zamfara states.

However, none of the applications succeeded as the apex court-imposed fines on lawyers who brought the Bayelsa and Zamfara applications.

Election: Political parties spent N800m on Supreme Court review applications
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad.
Source: UGC

In the Rivers governorship review application in April 2019 in the appeal by the Magnus Abe and Tonye Cole factions of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Supreme Court dismissed it.

The seven-member panel of the apex court led by Justice Tanko Muhammad upheld the earlier decision of the court on February 12, 2019, in which it overruled the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt for admitting an application challenging the high court’s order in October, nullifying the primaries of the party in the state, which meant that the party did not have a candidate in the March 9, 2019 governorship election in the state.

The newspaper also reported that on the Imo application, the Supreme Court on March 3, in a decision of six to one, ruled the court lacked jurisdiction to sit on appeal over its judgment of the PDP.

In the Bayelsa application by governor-elect David Lyon challenging the declaration of Duoye Diri as governor on February 13, the Supreme Court dismissed it for lack of jurisdiction to entertain it, and awarded the sum of N60m costs against the senior lawyers in the matter, Afe Babalola and Wole Olanipekun, for filing an application which it said lacked merit and constituted an abuse of court process.

In the Zamfara application by the former governor Abdulaziz Yari-led APC against the Senator Kabiru Marafa-led faction over the outcome of the party’s primary in 2018, the Supreme Court also dismissed the applications for lack of jurisdiction to review the application.

In the decision of four to one, the apex court awarded the sum of N2 million cost against the applicants led by Robert Clarke (SAN).

In a chat with the newspaper, Obioma Ezenwobodo Esq, said although he was not aware of the actual fees paid to the lawyers in the reviews, the calibre of lawyers who appeared in those matters “would probably charge up to or more than that amount.”

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Speaking on the legal fee, Hamid Ajibola Jimoh Esq, said a legal fee being a reward for service rendered by the lawyer is a form of contract.

"As it is, there is no fixed amount as to what a lawyer is paid as his fees for rendering a particular legal service. It will all depend on what both parties to such a contract agree to as binding between them,” he said.

Meanwhile, Legit.ng had reported previously that Wole Olanipekun (SAN), the counsel to David Lyon, the APC governorship candidate in the 2019 Bayelsa state election said that the sacked governor-elect did not ask the Supreme Court for a review of the verdict.

It was reported that Olanipekun said APC’s prayer was for the Supreme Court to correct its error in the judgment, which according to him was permissible in law.

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Source: Legit.ng

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