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COURT OF APPEAL, BENIN DIVISION LAMBASTS JUSTICE V.O EBOREIME OF HIGH COURT OF EDO STATE FOR GRANTING INTERIM ORDER ON A MATTER WHERE THE COURT LACKS JURISDICTION

COURT OF APPEAL, BENIN DIVISION LAMBASTS JUSTICE V.O EBOREIME OF HIGH COURT OF EDO STATE FOR GRANTING INTERIM ORDER ON A MATTER WHERE THE COURT LACKS JURISDICTION

In the judgement delivered by Theresa Ngolika Orji-Abudua. P.J.C.A. in the case between Hon. Monday Iyore Osagie (on behalf of the 576 Ad-hoc delegates elected by PDP monitored by INEC) AND Victor Enoghama, the court said, “THERE IS SOMETHING DUBIOUS AND INEXPLICABLE ABOUT THE APPROACH ADOPTED BY THE LOWER COURT BECAUSE, NATURALLY UPON GRANTING AN EX-PARTE ORDER OF INJUNCTION, THE LOWER COURT OUGHT TO HAVE ADJOURNED THE HEARING OF ANY PENDING MOTION ON NOTICE FOR INTERLOCUTORY INJUNCTION TO A PARTICULAR OR A GIVEN DATE….”
The judgement put to rest the issue of whether a state High Court has jurisdiction over pre-election matters under the 2022 electoral Act. “I HAVE CLOSELY STUDIED THE PROPOSED GROUNDS OF APPEAL RAISED BY THE APPLICANTS WHICH FUNDAMENTALLY QUESTIONED THE JURISDICTION OF THE HIGH COURT OF EDO STATE TO HAVE ENTERTAINED THE EX-PARTE APPLICATION OR THE SUIT FILED BY THE RESPONDENTS WHEREIN IT RESTRAINED THE APPLICANTS FROM PARTICIPATING IN THEIR PARTY’S CONVENTION AND CONGRESSES AND NOMINATION OF CANDIDATES IN THE FIRST PLACE AND GRANTING SUCH AN ORDER SINCE THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 84(14) OF THE 2022 ELECTORAL ACT, HAS DONATED JURISDICTION OVER MATTERS OF THIS NATURE TO FEDERAL HIGH COURT ONLY. THERE WAS NO MENTION OF STATE HIGH COURT IN THE SAID SECTION. THIS, I VIEW AS VALID SUBSTANTIAL GROUND THAT WOULD COMPEL THIS COURT TO GRANT THIS APPLICATION. IF THE LOWER COURT HAS NO JURISDICTION IN THE FIRST PLACE TO HAVE ENTERTAINED THE SUIT LET ALONE MAKING THE ORDER OF 5/5/2022 CONSIDERING THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 84(14) OF THE 2022 ACT, THEN IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT THE APPLICATION IS GRANTED. “
The judgment further said, “AS FAR AS THE COURT IS CONCERNED, THE HEARING OF THE MOTION FOR INTERLOCUTORY INJUNCTION WHICH THE TRIAL COURT HAD REFUSED TO FIX OR ADJOURN FOR HEARING, AFTER THE RESPONDENT HAD BEEN SERVED WITH THE INSTANT APPLICATION, IS HORRIDLY DISTASTEFUL AND UNBECOMING OF A MINISTER IN THE TEMPLE OF JUSTICE. THE TRIAL JUDGE HAD EXHIBITED THE GREATEST DEGREE OF DISRESPECT TO THIS COURT AND JUDICIAL PROCESS. HE DELIBERATELY BOXED THIS COURT TO A CORNER FOR REFUSING TO FIX THE MOTION FOR INTERLOCUTORY INJUNCTION BEFORE HIM FOR HEARING BUT THEN TURNED AROUND TO HEAR THE SAME AFTER THIS COURT HAD FIXED THE INSTANT APPLICATION. NO, WE SHALL NOT PERMIT SUCH RASCALITY TO PREVAIL…..” Saying that it “…..BORDERS ON JUDICIAL IMPERTINENCE AND EVEN AN AFFRONT ON THE AUTHORITY OF THE COURT. SUCH CONDUCT SHOULD BE DEPRECATED IN THE STRONGEST POSSIBLE JUDICIAL LANGUAGE AND THE LOWER COURTS BE MADE TO REALISE THAT THEY ARE CONSTITUTIONALLY BOUND TO ACCORD RESPECT TO THE AUTHORITY AND POWERS OF THIS COURT WHICH ARE EXERCISED THROUGH ITS PROCESSES ISSUED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAW AND PRACTICE.”
The court declared “THIS IS A POLITICAL MATTER AND COURTS HAD BEEN ENJOINED BY THE APEX COURT TO EXERCISE GREAT CAUTION IN DISHING OUT SUCH ORDERS IN TIME-BOUND CASES. GROUNDS ONE AND FIVE OF THE APPLICANTS PROPOSED GROUNDS OF APPEAL RAISED SERIOUS ISSUES OF JURISDICTION WHICH I FOUND EXCEEDINGLY COMPELLING IN GRANTING THIS APPLICATION.
IN THE END FOR ALL THE REASONS I HAVE GIVEN ABOVE, THIS COURT FINDS SUBSTANCE IN THIS APPLICATION MORE SO WHERE THERE IS A SEEMING CONSPIRACY TO UNJUSTLY DENY THE APPLICANTS THEIR RIGHTS WITHOUT BEING HEARD AT ALL AND STIFLE THE COURSE OF JUSTICE. ACCORDINGLY HIS APPLICATION IS GRANTED.”
James Gambo Abundaga JCA said, “I AM IN COMPLETE AGREEMENT WITH HIS LORDSHIP THAT THE APPLICATION IS MERITORIOUS AND SHOULD BE GRANTED…….I ABIDE ALL THE CONSEQUENTIAL ORDERS MADE IN THE RULING.”
While Samuel Adetola Bola JCA said “ I ABIDE BY THE ORDERS MADE”.

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