The National Leadership of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has reacted to what it called a “mischievous publication by some misguided and disgruntled rumour-mongers on the ‘APGA Leadership’ suit that came up for hearing today at the Court of Appeal (Kano Division), and in which they seek to invent and narrate stories that are baseless and non-existent.” Having failed in their clandestine and surreptitious bid to hijack and procure an illegitimate Judgment from the faraway High Court of Jigawa State, these “misguided and disgruntled elements,” according to the party, “have now resorted to spreading false rumours and displaying their crass ignorance of legal matters in connection with the appeal that is pending before the Court of Appeal (Kano Division), against the Judgment they procured from the High Court of Jigawa State.”
This is contained in a statement signed by Barrister Tex Okechukwu, National Publicity Secretary, APGA.
The party said further: “Now it is worthy of note that on 30th June 2021, the High Court of Jigawa State, in a most bizarre and unprecedented manner, dismissed the claim of one Alhaji Kabiru Yusuf before it; and, in total disregard of all known principles, proceeded to install and coronate one Jude Okeke as the new “National Chairman” of APGA under the guise of making what it (the Jigawa High Court) described as “consequential orders” in the case.
Every law student, and every discerning legal mind, knows that it is trite law that after a court has dismissed the case of a Plaintiff before it, the Court becomes functus officio. The Court cannot, thereafter, make any positive Order save as permitted by law and the rules of Court. It is equally entrenched and well-settled that where a Court has dismissed a case before it, the Court is without power and/or authority to make any order in the case. Jude Okeke, who was sued as the Defendant by Kabiru Yusuf in the Jigawa case, filed no Counter-Claim in the Suit. One then wonders on what basis Justice Ubale of the Jigawa High Court appointed and awarded him (Jude Okeke) the title of the “National Chairman” or “Acting National Chairman” of APGA entitled to conduct the Governorship Primary Election of APGA for Anambra State.
APGA and its legitimate and authentic National Chairman (Chief (Dr.) Victor Ike Oye) having appealed to the Court of Appeal, the Court of Appeal, in a Ruling delivered on 30th July 2021, granted him and APGA leave to appeal as parties interested and affected by the Judgment of the High Court of Jigawa State, as they are entitled to under Section 243 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended. In its said Ruling dated 30th July 2021, the Court of Appeal also allowed the Appellants (APGA and its National Chairman, Chief (Dr.) Victor Ike Oye) to file their Notice of Appeal within 24 hours; and also, to file their Appellants’ Brief of Argument within 3 days.
It is on record that as at 30th July 2021, the Record of Appeal in respect of the Judgment of the High Court of Jigawa State had been compiled and transmitted to the Court of Appeal. Accordingly, the Court of Appeal in its said Ruling also granted leave to APGA and Chief (Dr.) Victor Ike Oye to use and rely on the Record of Appeal already transmitted for the purpose of arguing their own appeal. In the light of this development, it is important to stress that contrary to the misconception being peddled around by these misguided and disgruntled elements, the position of the law is well settled that when record of appeal has been transmitted to the higher Court, the Notice of Appeal (such as that which APGA and Chief (Dr.) Victor Ike Oye were granted leave by the Court of Appeal to file) would appropriately be filed at the Registry of the Court of Appeal as the case file in the case has been transmitted to the Court of Appeal. See CBN v. OKOJIE (2004) 10 NWLR (Pt. 882) 488; CHUKWUBUZOR & SONS NIGERIA LTD v. IDIONG (2013) LPELR-23143 (CA) and several others.
It is also important to clarify that in a separate Ruling delivered on 30th July 2021, the Court of Appeal refused the application by one Edozie Njoku to appeal as a person interested against the same Judgment of the High Court of Jigawa State because the Court of Appeal took the view that his Motion for leave to appeal was not filed within time. The Ruling of the Court of Appeal in Edozie Njoku’s application for leave to appeal is, completely, unrelated to the substance of the appeal for which APGA and Chief (Dr.) Victor Ike Oye were granted leave to the challenge the Judgment of the High Court of Jigawa on 30th July 2021.
It is necessary to clarify, further, that the case filed before the Jigawa High Court in which Kabiru Yusuf was asking the Court to determine that Jude Okeke was not validly appointed as the National Chairman of APGA because he just became a member of APGA, cannot be a Pre-election Matter. Neither Kabiru Yusuf nor Jude Okeke nor the subject matter of the Suit contrived by them in the Jigawa High Court, falls within the definition of “Pre-election Matter” as stated in Section 285(14) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended by the Fourth Alteration Act. It is worthy of note that the said provision of Section 285(14) of the Constitution (supra) has been recently given judicial interpretation by the Supreme Court of Nigeria in Appeal No: SC/CV/29/2021; A.P.C. v. DELE MOSES & ORS (Unreported Judgment) delivered on 5th March 2021.
The authority of APC v. DELE MOSES (supra), including the earlier decision of the Court of Appeal in PDP & ORS v. DAYO & ORS. (2018) LPELR – 46187 (CA), comprehensively and conclusively answered the question of what is a Pre-election Matter. By no stretch of the imagination or brainwave of these misguided and disgruntled elements, can the procured Judgment of the High Court of Jigawa State which anointed Jude Okeke as the “Acting National Chairman” of APGA be described as a Pre-Election Matter. As these mischief makers clearly admitted in the caption of their misguided publication, the subject matter of their much-touted Jigawa Judgment is “APGA LEADERSHIP”.
Happily, the Court of Appeal has today heard the appeal and Judgment has been reserved. It is not right to comment on what would be the Judgment of the Court of Appeal in the matter, as the matter is Sub Judice. Therefore, we urge all our teeming supporters and stakeholders to respect the authority of the Court and await the outcome of the Court of Appeal Judgment.”