by Steve Omoriayewa
The All Progressives Congress (APC) and Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Lagos State have applied for leave to appeal the judgment of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should electronically transmit the results of Saturday’s governorship and House of Assembly elections.
Justice P. O. Lifu had given the order mandating INEC to electronically or digitally transmit results, following the suit brought before the court by Labour Party (LP) and its governorship candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour.
Although SDP, being an interested Party, had approached the court to void the March 8,2023 judgment, the court refused, thereby warranting the application for leave to appeal.
Also, the APC has applied for a leave to appeal the judgment by Justice Lifu as an interested party.
However, the cloud of uncertainty over the INEC method of result transmission has not fizzled out as another Federal High Court sitting in Abuja gave an order to the effect that the electoral agency is at liberty to adopt any method suitable to its operations.
In the suit between the appellants- SDP (and its three chieftains; Olufemi Olaniyi, Christopher Janet and Olatunji Ganiyu) and LP( Rhodes-Vivour and 18 others)pending before the Court of Appeal, the appellants sought four reliefs:-An order setting aside the decision of the Federal HighCourt, Lagos, contained in the ruling of Justice Lifu delivered on March 8,3023, in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/470/ 2023;-An order allowing the appeal against the decision of the Federal High Court, Lagos,contained in the ruling of Justice Lifu.-An order dismissing the Originating Summons filed in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/370/2023 for lacking in merit and incompetent.–Such further order(s) as this honourable court may deem appropriate in the circumstances of the appeal.Similarly, in its suit filed before the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos, APC is seeking to appeal the same judgment as an interested party.Respondents are LP, Rhodes-Vivour and 40 other chieftains of the party.APC urged the Appeal Court to take judicial notice of the judgment of another High Court sitting in Abuja, in which the first respondent, LP, was also a respondent.Based on the judgment in the Suit No: FHC/AB/ABJ/CS/1454/2022 between LP and INEC, the electoral commission is at liberty to prescribe the manner in which election results can or ought to be transmitted by virtue of Sections 50(2) and 70(5) of the Electoral Act 2022.In the suit filed by its counsels at the Appeal Court, APC is seeking five reliefs:-An order granting leave to the applicant to appeal as an interested party against the final decision of the Federal High Court, delivered by Justice Lifu;-An order granting a departure from the rules of this court, by permitting and deeming the separate filing of the Notice of Appeal (in terms of the proposed notice and grounds) filed at the Registry of the Appeal Court, rather than the Registry of the court below, as properly filed and served;-An order of the court granting a departure of rules of this court regulating the filing of Briefs of Argument and setting the appeal down for hearing on oral argument alone;-A constitutional order of this court staying the execution of the judgment by Justice Lifu, pending the hearing and determination of the appeal-And any order the court may deem fit.