Frontline constitutional lawyer, Daniel Bwala, says the Supreme Court has its job well cut for it in deciding whether the Court of Appeal has a right to upturn settled law when it considers the appeal filed by Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State against the appellate court verdict that removed him from office.
Speaking in an interview on Arise Television on Monday, November 27, 2023, Bwala said the Supreme Court as the final court in the land has been brought to question on the settled law on pre-election matters as determined by the Court of Appeal over the Plateau election.
While noting that the Court of Appeal decided to throw out pre-election matters in deference to the authority of the apex court in election petitions brought in Benue, Ebonyi, and several other jurisdictions, he expressed wonder why the same court took jurisdiction of the issue in Plateau State.
He said: “This case of Plateau State when it gets to the Supreme Court it would be the case of Supreme Court versus Court of Appeal.
“It has more to do with the sanctity and integrity of that Supreme Court itself because the Supreme Court will have to determine whether that judgement they delivered in the Presidential Election Tribunal is to be carried out by subordinate courts in Nigeria.
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“They made it clear that a decision by a final court is called a settled law. Once a case is not determined by the final court it is not a settled law. But once it is determined by a final court it is cast on stone.
“So, the Supreme Court will have to determine whether the Court of Appeal is above it or it is above the Court of Appeal.”
Noting how the confidence had been eroded in the judiciary by the decisions of some courts, Bwala said: “The confidence of the people is gradually waning considering the trust they have in the judiciary.
“How can a court in Ebonyi, a court in Benue and in all other places obey the judgement of the Supreme Court but in Plateau State, the Court of Appeal disobeyed the judgement of the Supreme Court regarding matters of pre-election.
“Before the Supreme Court all characters of pre-election were brought, the ones that bothered on double nomination, certificate forgery and even on how somebody emerged in a primary and the Supreme Court maintained the same position and they spoke with vehemence. So, it will be interesting to see how the Supreme Court will speak with the same vehemence.
“In the days of Justice Tobi they never failed to chastise the court below them when the court below them disobeyed the judgement they passed.”
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