None of the over 50 lawyers, among them Senior Advocates of Nigeria, who represented defeated PDP candidate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, was present at the Supreme Court on Friday as the court gave an elaborate ruling on Atiku’s appeal challenging the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari.
In contrast, lawyers to Buhari, the winner of the poll, the All Progressives Congress and the Independent National Electoral Commission were present ahead of the proceedings.
The Atiku lawyers did not send any apology to the court, but it is believed they kept away because of the position of their principal, Atiku Abubakar, who made the unproven allegation that the court was under the influence of a ‘dictatorial cabal’.
Dr. Livy Uzoukwu SAN, headed the long list of lawyers that represented the defeated candidate, now living in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
A seven-man panel of the court headed by Chief Justice Tanko Muhammad had in its judgment on October 30, 2019, dismissed the appeal and announced that it would give the reasons for its decision on a date to be later announced.
Justice John Okoro is reading the elaborate judgment today.
The apex court on Wednesday notified lawyers to parties in the appeal to come for the reasons behind its verdict.
The notice signed by Ibrahim Gold, a Registrar at the Supreme Court reads: “IN THE SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA HOLDEN AT ABUJA. SC 1211/2019: Atiku Abubakar & anor V. INEC & 2 Ors.
“TAKE NOTICE that the REASONS FOR THE JUDGEMENT delivered on Wednesday the 30th day of October 2019 in the above named Appeal will be listed before the Supreme Court of Nigeria on Friday the 15th day of November, 2019 at 9.00am.
“AND FURTHER TAKE NOTICE that in accordance with the Supreme Court Rules, this Notice is deemed sufficiently served on you if it is delivered on your telephone”.
In a unanimous ruling on October 30, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad said the panel had come to the conclusion that the appeal lacked merit.
“Having gone through the briefs for over two weeks we have come to the conclusion that this appeal lacks merit. This appeal is hereby dismissed. Reason will be given at a date to be communicated to parties”, the CJN declared.
Atiku and PDP had challenged the entire judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal which affirmed the election of President Muhammadu Buhari.
After the Supreme Court judgment that again dashed his hope of seizing power from Buhari, Atiku blamed what he called an “overreaching and dictatorial cabal that he claimed had sabotaged the judiciary.
In the statement, he made sweeping indictment of some of the mediating institutions in the country, saying everyone has been compromised.
He even said a ‘requiem is at hand’ for the burial of Nigeria’s democratic gains since 2015, when Buhari mounted the saddle.
“In a democracy, you need a strong judiciary, a free press and an impartial electoral umpire. Nigeria has none of those three elements as at today,” he claimed.
Then he zeroed in on the judiciary making a claim that sounds more like an incitement of his supporters against the institution, on a day that the Appeal court in Sokoto took two National Assembly seats from the All Progressives Congress and gave them to Atiku’s PDP.
“The Nigerian judiciary, just like every estate of our realm, has been sabotaged and undermined by an overreaching and dictatorial cabal”, Atiku claimed, “who have undone almost all the democratic progress the Peoples Democratic Party and its administrations nurtured for sixteen years, up until 2015.