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Written by Onye Nkegi   
Tuesday, 03 November 2009
Celestine Omehia
the second time in the life of this present administration, the Supreme Court again came to the rescue of Governor Rotimi Amaechi as it kicked out an application brought by the ousted former governor; Chief Celestine Omehia. Omehia, in the ridiculous application, invited the apex court to review its judgment delivered in October 2007 upon which Rotimi Amaechi rode into office. The ousted former governor contended that the decision of the Supreme Court violated the principle of direct election which is a fundamental requirement of democracy and that it amounted to a special repeal of sections 177, 178 (iii) and 179 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999. Omehia averred that the apex court erred in law when it made Amaechi the winner of an election he did not participate in. The former governor further maintained that judgment was unconstitutional and asked the court to review it.

The 7 man panel of the court led by Justice Adolphus Katsina – Alu, however refused to hear Omehia out. The apex court refused to sit on appeal over its own judgment. The court questioned the rationale behind the frivolous application which challenged the jurisdiction of the court in granting the reliefs not sought by Governor Amaechi when it declared him winner of the election won by the Peoples Democratic Party. The court maintained that if a court has jurisdiction to hear any matter, that it also has the jurisdiction to reach a decision in the matter.

The apex court rejected the submission of Omehia that it departed from the norm when it declared a non participant in an election as the winner of the election. The panel members, including Justice Olufumilola Adekeye who was a member of the Court of Appeal panel when the Rotimi Amaechi case was tried at the Court of Appeal, tried to coerce Omehia’s lawyer; Mr. John Ezike, into the possible withdrawal of the application but the very courageous lawyer refused to be intimidated by the court.

Justice Alu, in his observations, considered the posture of Omehia’s counsel as a very serious professional misconduct in that the application seeks to compel the court to review a 2 year old judgment. The presiding justice categorically stated that whether their decision in the matter was right or wrong, that the judgment stands and that nothing can be done about it unless otherwise Celestine Omehia goes on appeal before God’s court, that the judgment of the court making Amaechi the Rivers state governor stands.

Mr. Ezike, before taking his seat in submission to the supremacy of the apex court, made a passing shot at the panel when he reiterated that the final decision lies with the court but that the lesson of history is different and does not rest with the panel members.

A cost of One Hundred Thousand Naira was awarded against Omehia in favour of Rotimi Amaechi for the troubles he caused the court.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 03 November 2009 )
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