The Supreme Court verdict on the application for the review of its earlier judgment on the Zamfara gubernatorial and legislative elections may have brought an end to the struggle over the control of the North-western state but certainly not a conclusion over questions bordering on the jurisdiction of the apex court to reverse itself. Once again, and as in the Imo judgment, Justice Chima Nweze gave a dissenting judgment. This time around, he ruled in favour of the APC’s application.
Justice Inyang Okoro while reading the lead judgment in the favour of the People’s Democratic Party had stated that “there is a total prohibition to the review for a judgement which accurately represented what the court implied. Such judgement cannot be varied. Our forebears did not leave any one in doubt that judgement of the Supreme Court, once delivered, shall not be over-rided”
“The finality of judgement of the Supreme Court is sealed. No one is allowed to file an appeal through the backdoor, no matter how the processes are disguised,” Okoro added.
However, while disagreeing with the lead judgment, Justice Nweze was quick to state that the apex court is not “a Father Christmas” to rule in the favour of candidates that were not parties in an APC Intra-party dispute. He maintained that the court has the power to overrule itself when its judgement was entered in error. According to him, “It is better to admit any error than to abide in error”. He went ahead to declare the judgment that handed power to PDP in Zamfara was null and void.
It will be remembered that true to himself, Nweze had also nullified the Supreme Court judgement that handed over the Imo governorship seat to Senator Hope Uzodinma, against that stands of the other four judges that ruled in favour of the initially judgment. Nweze had found merit on the application of the Hon Emeka Ihedioha to set aside the judgment of the Supreme Court which was delivered in the favour of Senator Hope Uzodinma. He had seen the application as “an appeal to the brooding spirit of the law.” He went on to conclude that “the reasoning in the judgment will sooner or later haunt our electoral jurisprudence”
There have been arguments in the legal parlance bordering on the Supreme Court’s power to reverse itself and give a contradictory judgment. Justice Nweze’s minority judgment may have done enough to broaden the spectrum of such arguments.