May 26, 2024

A Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja, on Wednesday, dismissed a suit seeking to invalidate the nomination of Sen. Lawal Usman as Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s candidate for the Feb. 25 Kaduna State Central Senatorial election. Justice James Omotosho, in a judgment, held that the suit, filed by Mr Ibrahim Usman, an aggrieved aspirant in the party’s primary held on May 23, 2022, was an abuse of court process. Justice Omotosho held that the matter, having been decided by an Appeal Court and subsequently affirmed by the Supreme Court, lacked merit. The judge said though the plaintiff’s suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/333/23, was not statute barred, having been filed within the 14-day period prescribed by the law, he however agreed with the defence that the subject matter of the instant suit was similar to the earlier one he filed before a FHC sitting in Kaduna, which had been decided by the apex court. He said for a lower court to review the decision of a superior court did not go with “the doctrine of stare decisis,” and such suit had been caught up by “the principle of res judicata.”
He, therefore, said that Usman’s suit constituted an abuse of court process for asking the lower court to review the decision of the Appeal Court and the judgment of the Supreme Court.
The judge, who said that instituting the case was like flogging the dead horse, said the court also found that the action was a deliberate attempt to turn the decision of the court over its head and to go into judicial rascality.
“This suit ought to be thrown into the dustbin. The matter has already been decided and cannot be reinstituted.
“The plaintiff is bound to obey the decision of the Supreme Court as you cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand,” he said.
According to Justice Omotosho, no matter how incorrect a judgment of a higher court might be, it cannot be reviewed by a lower court.
He said that the PDP primary poll conducted on Nov. 7, 2022 against the primaries held on May 23, 2022, never existed, having been set aside by the apex court.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a FHC in Kaduna had, in its judgment in suit number: FHC/KD/CS/73/22, nullified the PDP primaries conducted on May 23, 2022 which produced the 2nd defendant (Sen. Usman) as PDP candidate, and ordered for a fresh poll.
The party had organised another primaries on Nov. 7 which produced the plaintiff as its candidate.
But an Appeal Court, in the appeal marked: CA/K/257/22 filed by the 2nd defendant (Sen. Usman), on Dec. 19, 2022, set aside the judgement of the trial court that ordered for the Nov. 7, 2022 primary election.
The Supreme Court, also in its judgment on Feb. 17 on appeal number: SC/CV/1691/2022 filed by the plaintiff, affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeal.
However, the plaintiff, unsatisfied with the decision, had sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Lawal Adamu Usman and PDP as 1st to 3rd defendants respectively before Justice Omotosho of a FHC, Abuja. In the writ of summons dated and filed March 10 by his lawyer, Chief P.H. Ogbole, SAN, the plaintiff sought 14 reliefs, which include an order voiding the pronouncement made by INEC on Feb. 28, declaring and returning the 2nd defendant (Sen. Usman) as the winner of the Kaduna Central Senatorial District election conducted on Feb. 25.
He also sought an order directing the commission to issue and hand over to him a Certificate of Return in respect of the Feb. 25 election as validly elected candidate of the party, among others.
In his statement of claim, the plaintiff averred that he won the PDP primary poll conducted on Nov. 7 to determine its standard bearer for the general elections.
But in his preliminary objection, the 2nd defendant (Sen. Usman), urged the court to dismiss the suit for being an abuse of court process.
He argued that the subject matter of the suit had been determined by the Supreme Court which was predicated on who was the validly elected candidate of the PDP for the Kaduna Central Senatorial District at the general election held on Feb. 25.

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