The Supreme Court has reversed itself in the case initiated for President Goodluck Jonathan by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mohammed Adoke (SAN), to stop the National Assembly from overriding the President’s veto of the Fourth Alteration Bill for the amendment of the Constitution.
The apex court, had on May 7, after ordering parties in the suit to maintain status quo, adjourned further hearing to June 18 after the expiration of the tenure of the seventh National Assembly.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, who led a seven-member panel on May 7, ruled that: “Meanwhile, pending the hearing of the parties on June 18, status quo shall be maintained in the matter. In other words, no further steps shall be taken to alter the current position of the subject matter of the suit by the defendants or the plaintiff.”
But it was learnt yesterday that the Supreme Court has rescheduled hearing in the case for May 25, a decision, it was further learnt, was informed by a request contained in a fresh application by the lawyer to the National Assembly, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN).
Awomolo, it was gathered, requested that the case be relisted for hearing before the expiration of the tenure of the current National Assembly. The Supreme Court will on Monday hear the fresh application filed by Awomolo.
A copy of the new hearing notice sighted reads: “Take notice that the above motion will be listed for hearing before the Supreme Court of Nigeria sitting at Abuja on Monday, May 25.
“And further take notice that in accordance with Order 2 Rule 1(2) of the Supreme Court Rules 1985, as amended, this notice is deemed sufficiently served on you if it is left at your address for service or sent by registered post and since the date of service by post is material, section 26 of the Interpretation Act, 1c64 shall apply.”
Awomolo wants the apex court to discharge the order for status quo made on May 7 which barred the lawmakers from overriding the president’s veto. He also wants the court to dismiss the originating summons filed by the AGF.
He hinged his request on the grounds that the originating summons dated April 22 “is incompetent, fundamentally and incurably defective and thereby robs the Supreme Court of its jurisdiction;” that “there is no known or reasonable cause of action disclosed in the originating summons to ground jurisdiction of the Supreme Court,” and that “the originating summons filed by the plaintiff is an improper and or reckless invocation of the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.”
He further argued that the AGF was not competent to invoke the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under the Supreme Court (additional jurisdiction) Act.
On why the court should grant his application, Awomolo argued that the National Assembly was inaugurated on June 6, 2011 for a term of four years and that the four years lifespan of the seventh National Assembly will terminate on June 6 and the case would therefore become a mere academic exercise.
He said it was in the interest of justice and the good people of Nigeria that the suit be promptly heard and determined.