By Yusufu Shehu Usman
It was widely reported in the press that the PDP is contemplating seeking a review of the Imo case by the Supreme Court.
In truth and to all intents and purposes,they are indirectly calling on the Apex court to over rule itself or sit on appeal over it’s own judgement in the same case.
The Constitution says the Supreme Court is the final court of Appeal
Under The 1999 Constitution, the Supreme Court is the last court of Appeal in Nigeria.
There can not be any further appeal from the Judgement of the supreme Court to any other court, not even to the Supreme Court it self on any case it has finally decided.
The Supreme Court can reverse it’s decision in a subsequent case where it appears manifest that it erred in law in it’s previous decision, but not in the same case it had already passed judgement.
If the Supreme Court reverses itself in the same case, it would mean that the Court is not supreme and it’s decisions are not final
That is not what the Constitution says about the powers of the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court Statute confers on the court the power to review it’s decisions under very few and exceptional circumstance.
From the history of the Supreme Court, it has seldom exercised this power. It should also be appreciated that a review within the contemplation of the law, is not an appeal and it’s consequences do not operate as reliefs usually given in judgements on appeal
It may correct some errors, misapplication or misconceptions in the judgement but can not over turn the final verdict delivered in the case.
Only an appeal can over rule or over turn the judgement of the Supreme Court and the law and the Constitution make no provisions for appeal against the judgement of the supreme Court. It is not within the vires of a review procedure to thwart or question the final decision of the supreme Court in any fundamental way that can nullify the judgement already rendered by the court in any matter
The judgement of the Supreme Court in the Imo election, is sancrosant, final and binding on all the parties and authorities until it is either rendered nugatory by a subsequent legislative action or when in a subsequent case (not this), the Supreme Court reverses it’s self and upturns the precedent laid in the Imo case. The decision in Amaechi’s judgment is a case in point.
I don’t know what political gains the PDP wants to achieve by it’s recent move. It must however be conceded to them, that the law allows them as a party in the casd, to apply for a review. It’s a different kettle of fish whether the Court will grant their prayers, for it is within the legal and equitable discretion of the Supreme Court to allow or refuse such an order