While Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN leads a team of about 30 Senior Advocates in defence of APC in the Presidential election petition tribunal, Chief Wole Olanipekun, CON, SAN leads another team of 34 Senior Advocates in defence of the President-Elect’s mandate. Both men have over 100 non- Senior Advocate lawyers working with them on their various teams to get the job done.
Some will query, why so many lawyers? Well Election Petition is serious business and Asiwaju who has been involved in this process whilst helping others reclaim their stolen mandate knows this. It involves tonnes of research, thousands of legal opinions churned out in minutes and review of thousands of documents that constitute election materials, news paper reports, observer reports, historical documents, laws, decided cases and above all regular meetings to take benefit of broad collective thinking of extremely smart lawyers.
As Respondents, you have the period of 21 days allowed for the Petitioner to bring his Petition added to another 21 days allowed for you to respond. In that period of 42 days, a diligent Respondent must have used a fine comb and toothpick to go through every Polling Unit Result in over 176,000 Polling Units across the country, review other INEC forms like EC 8B which is the Ward collation results, EC 8C; Local Government collation Results, EC 8D; State collation results and EC 8E; which is the National collation result. There are several other forms used by INEC in such elections which must be carefully examined and its data analyzed to see who they fit in the larger picture.
Armed with a calculator, lawyers, data analysts and statisticians look at every tiny detail to guarantee that it checks out!!! Asiwaju does not do a haphazard job so he got the team that is needed to do a good job. The value of this effort uncovered thousands of magical votes awarded to LP in the South East and PDP in some parts of the North. Fortunately, for the first time, several persons on the team are volunteering because of their belief in this mandate!
But this is not the main point of this post which is that, yesterday, Chief Wole Olanipekun’s team filed a response to both LP and PDP’s Petition. It was a lunch of barage of legal missiles reminiscent of the declaration of operation “Shock & Awe” by President Bush in the opening phase of Gulf War II!!
Saddam’s army never recovered from it and it is my hunch that neither Obi nor Atiku will survive this opening salvo by Cheif Wole’s team!! They are deadly as they aim for the jugular of their respective cases. We will breakdown to you what these processes contain in a series of posts over the next few days so as not to bore you with lengthy details.
PRELIMINARY OBJECTION TO LP.
Today, we will only examine one leg of Chief Wole’s objection to the Petition by LP. The case put forward is that they simply have no competent Petition worthy of being considered by the Tribunal for the reason that the very reliefs they have sought are not grantable in law!
Why is that so? The first principle in considering the competence of any action in court is to determine whether the reliefs sought can be granted by the Court. Where they cannot be granted then such Court lacks jurisdiction to entertain the case.
In considering the nature of relief sought, the Court must ascertain that the applicant will benefit from the relief if he succeeds. Where he does not benefit from such relief, it is deemed an academic relief which is of no utilitarian value to the person seeking it. A cardinal rule of adjudication is that a Court does and must not dissipate its jurisdiction on academic matters.
Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN’s simple contention is that Obi sought the following;
- Principal relief which is relief (i) in his Petition.
- Main reliefs which is reliefs (i to iii) in his Petition.
- Alternative reliefs which are the reliefs other than relief (i to iii).
Obi stands to gain nothing from relief (i) which seeks the disqualification of the President-Elect even if granted because Obi came 3rd and failed to demonstrate anywhere in his Petition details of votes cast in his favor that would have made him come 1st. Therefore, he is perpetually rooted in his 3rd position making the grant of his principal relief work for the benefit of Atiku and not Obi. This relief is academic and the Tribunal has no jurisdiction to entertain academic reliefs. Remember I had earlier explained to you the reason why?
Similarly, the main reliefs sought by Obi are infected by the same virus of having no utilitarian value to him. The court is by the same logic also urged to decline jurisdiction to entertain them.
The alternative reliefs suffer a different kind of disease which is that they are floating in the air and have no factual basis to underpin. What this means is that for instance, if a woman accuses her husband of being abusive, when coming to Court, she must state the form of abuse he meted out on her. Does he beat her which is physical abuse? Does he snore in his sleep and refuses to do anything about it, despite her recommendation of medical options to help stop the snoring? As a result of his refusal to seek medical help, she cannot sleep at night thereby increasing her stress level which is emotional abuse? These are necessary particulars that will provide the bases for her to lead evidence to persuade the Court to see the justice in her case and grant her reliefs. In the case of abuse, evidence of medical report or scars will do. For emotion abuse, evidence of a video of the ogbeni snoring his life away will help!!!
Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN contends that Obi’s claim of winning the election which is the reason for his alternative reliefs is orphaned by lack of factual bases or material particulars to show how he won. There is no table showing the votes collated by his agent as against the votes collated by INEC. So how does he expect the Court to grant his reliefs without such particulars. Having failed to plead them he cannot lead evidence of that as you can only lead evidence for facts you have already pleaded? Therefore, the Tribunal is being requested by LP and Obi to embark on a voyage of discovery like Mungo Park and every Court in the land will reject such invitation.
I know what is going through your minds now…. can the Tribunal determine all these questions at the preliminary stage since the rule for Objections is based on prima facie and not delving into the meat of the matter? Well, by our electoral jurisprudence, objections are determined at the final stage along side the substantive petition. So the Court would wait till the end of trial to deliver Judgment and must have formed a 360⁰ or helicopter view of the Objections before ruling on them.
My gut feeling is that this is a solid Objection that has the potency to permanently abort the Petition of Obi and LP. We have to wait and see but the joy is in waiting.
Analysis of other points raised will follow tomorrow as this piece is already too long. You know our dear Obidients are only used to 150 character posts on twitter so with this lengthy piece, they are already at their wits-end and intellectually exhausted.
Let’s not over stress them…Plus the deportation saga for allegations of committing serious crimes across the UK by their Lord and savior; Peter Obi!!! They are going through alot. Pressure ti wa!