➥ CASE SUMMARY OF:
Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo v. PDP (SC.1/2020, 26 Feb 2020)
by Branham Chima.
➥ ISSUES RAISED
Review Supreme Court judgement;
Finality of the Supreme Court;
➥ CASE FACT/HISTORY
This is a ruling in respect of two applications filed by the two sets of applicants, who were first and second respondents, and third respondent respectively, in appeal No. SC.1/2020 that was argued in this court on 13/2/2020.
This court delivered its judgment on that same day.
The applications filed by the applicants, is praying this court for, inter alia – (1) An order setting aside ex debito justitae the judgment of this Hon. Court delivered on 13/2/2020 in SC (sic) No SC 1/2020 between PDP and 2 Ors. v. Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo and 3 Ors. (2) An order restoring the appeal in SC.1/2020 between PDP and 2 Ors. v. Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo and 3 Ors. for hearing on its merit.
➥ ISSUE(S) & RESOLUTION(S)
I. Whether this application for the Supreme Court to set aside its decision is competent?
RESOLUTION: IN RESPONDENT’S FAVOUR. (It is not competent).
[EXCEPTING ACCIDENTAL SLIPS; THIS COURT HAS NO JURISDICTION TO REVIEW ITS JUDGEMENT
‘So, this court is not authorized and lacks jurisdiction to review its judgment except in the circumstances spelt out in the said Order 8 rule 16 of the rules of this court. The two sets of applicants have not shown this court any clerical mistakes that need to be corrected in its judgment delivered on 13/2/2020. They have not pointed out any accidental slip or omission or shown this court any part of the judgment that needs to be varied so as to give effect to its meaning or intention. What they are asking this court to do is what the said provision prohibits – the applicants are asking the court to vary “the operative and substantive part” of its judgment, and thereby substitute a different form. There must be an end to litigation. Section 235 of the 1999Constitution, as amended, makes it clear that “no appeal shall lie to any other body from any determination of the Supreme Court.” Thus, this is the final court of the land, and it is well settled that the decisions of this court are final – See ARCON v. Fassassi (No. 4) (1987) 3 NWLR (Pt. 59) 42, wherein Eso, J.S.C. observed: Before a court finally determines a case before it, it is seised with jurisdiction to determine whether or not it has jurisdiction. But and this is of utmost importance, once the court has finally determined the issue, it is functus officio that judgment, if it is by a court lower than the Supreme Court it can only be corrected on appeal. In the Supreme Court, the decision of that court in so far as that case is concerned is final for all ages – It is final in the sense of real finality. It is final forever. Only a legislation ad hominin can alter it. The decision of this court in Appeal No. SC. 1/2020 is final for all ages; it is final in the real sense of the word – Final; and no force on earth can get this court to shift from its decision regarding the Bayelsa State pre-election appeal No. SC.1/2020.To do otherwise, is to open a floodgate of litigation on appeals that have already been settled by this court. There is even no guarantee that if these two applications are granted, the other side will not come with a fresh application to review the ruling on the ground that this court did not consider certain aspects of the arguments in its ruling. There would be no end in sight. As I said, there must be an end to litigation to ensure certainty in the law, and that was the exact point made by Elias, C.J.N, in (1974) 1 All NLR (Pt. 1) 226, which this court adopted in Adigun v. A.G., Oyo State (No. 2) (1987) 2 NWLR.(Pt. 56) 197at 234. In Chief Olugbade’s case (supra), Elias, CJN, stated – Were we to accept the submission – – that we can exercise the jurisdiction to entertain these motions, to look into complaints about the law or the fact in the judgment being attacked, there would be no finality about any judgment of this court and every disaffected litigant could bring further appeals as it were ad infinitum. This is a situation that must not be permitted. In Adigun’s case (supra), this court per Nnamani, J.S.C, added as follows – I may add that our principle of stare decisis would be severely hampered, for all lower courts would be obliged to defer application of decisions of this court until they were sure that such decisions would not by an application almost immediately after their delivery, be reviewed and altered. In this case, it is clear that the two sets of applicants are asking this court to sit on appeal over its judgment delivered on 13/2/2020, which is regrettable. The position of the law is that the decision of this court on any matter is final, subsisting and binding on parties, and there is no statutory or constitutional provision allowing this court, as the apex court, to review its decision by itself, therefore, this court does not and cannot sit on appeal over its own judgment.’]
‘The two applications filed by the two sets of applicants are vexatious they are frivolous; and they are without doubt, a gross abuse of court process in the circumstances, the said two applications are hereby dismissed. Costs of N10 Million Naira each are awarded against the first and second applicants and the third applicant respectively, and in favour of the first, second and third respondents to be paid personally by their respective counsel.’
➥ FURTHER DICTA:
Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo (APC Deputy Governorship Candidate for Bayelsa State) & Ors.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) & Ors.
➥ LEAD JUDGEMENT DELIVERED BY:
⦿ FOR THE APPLICANTS
⦿ FOR THE RESPONDENT(S)
➥ MISCELLANEOUS POINTS
➥ REFERENCED (LEGISLATION)
➥ REFERENCED (CASE)
➥ REFERENCED (OTHERS)