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Supreme Court Rule To Continue Case on Dickson Disqualification

The Supreme Court on Tuesday struck out two appeals filed by a former Bayelsa State governor, Henry Seriake Dickson and his party – the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

The appeals were against the January 7, 2021 judgment of the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt Division, which held among others, that a suit seeking Dickson’s disqualification from contesting the last rerun senatorial election in Bayelsa State was not statute-barred and should be given an accelerated hearing by the Federal High Court.

A five-man panel of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Mary Odili, struck out both appeals after their lawyers, including Sir Friday Nwosu, agreed to formally withdraw the appeals.

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On the appeal by Dickson, the apex court agreed with the lawyer to the first respondent (Owoupele Eneoriekumoh), Pius D. Pius that, having earlier filed a notice of withdrawal, he could no longer take further steps except to withdraw the appeal.

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Dickson had, at a point, applied to withdraw the appeal, but later changed his mind and filed a motion, seeking to have the appeal heard, a move the respondents objected to, arguing that, having applied to withdraw for whatever reason, he could no longer change his mind.

The Supreme Court, in striking out Dickson’s appeal, agreed with the respondents that once a party files a notice of withdrawal, the only further step such an appellant could take are to formally withdraw the appeal, not to abandon the withdrawal notice and asked to be heard on the same notice of appeal.

On the appeal by the PDP, the Supreme Court also noted that the appellant filed a notice of appeal without specifying the judgment of the Court of Appeal that was being appealed against.

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The three-man panel of the Court of Appeal, Port-Harcourt had, in the January 7, 2021 judgment, set aside the decision the Federal High Court, Port-Harcourt, which struck out the suit by Eneoriekumoh, alleging that Dickson supplied false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The Court of Appeal remitted the suit back to the Federal High Court for hearing on merit.

The case has since been heard on the merit by the Federal High Court in accordance with the Court of Appeal decision, with the trial court, in a judgment earlier this year, holding in favour of the ex-governor, to the effect that he did not supply false information as alleged by the plaintiff.

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Eneoriekumoh has since appealed the decision at the Court of Appeal, Port-Harcourt.

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With the Supreme Court’s decision on Tuesday, parties will now return to the Court of Appeal in respect of the appeal by Eneoriekumoh.

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