The Supreme Court yesterday dismissed an application by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), asking it for a consequential order based on its judgment on tenure elongation of five governors.
A seven-member panel, chaired by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Dahiru Musdapher said it has become functus officio and that the apex court lacked the power to make pronouncement on the case again.
PDP’s counsel Chris Uche, (SAN), had asked the court to make a consequential order declaring that Captain Idris Wada was the governor-in-waiting as at the time the judgment on tenure elongation of five governors was delivered.
In its judgment of January 27, the apex court had declared that the tenure of the governors expired since May 28, 2011.
Affected by the judgment were Governors Ibrahim Idris (Kogi), Timipre Sylva (Bayelsa), Liyel Imoke (Cross-River), Aliyu Wamako (Sokoto) and Muritala Nyako (Adamawa).
Shortly, after the ruling, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, (SAN), directed that the Speakers of the Houses of Assembly in the affected states should be sworn in as acting governors.
Although the Kogi speaker was sworn in as acting governor by the Chief Judge, Wada was also on the same day sworn in by the President of the Customary Court of Appeal as governor.
Following the intervention of the presidency, Wada was retained as the governor while the speaker was asked to quit as acting governor.
In an unanimous ruling yesterday, the apex court said it cannot grant any request for consequential order.
Justice Musdapher who delivered the ruling said: “Any consequential order must be one giving effect to the judgment in its ordinary meaning.
“A consequential order therefore made subsequently to a judgment which drags from the judgment or which contains extraneous matters is not order within its jurisdiction.
“Having determined the rights of parties by giving judgment, the Judge becomes functus officio except for any act permitted by law or to support.
“The power to grant consequential order must be exercised with great caution. The jurisdiction is not a backdoor for rearguing a case. It is not to be used for the purpose of reagitating argument already considered by a court or because a party has failed to present the argument.
“It does not extend to correcting a previous decision or to make further orders on a point or points not an issue at the hearing.
“There is no doubt this court has jurisdiction to give reliefs or make substantive order where justice of the case demands it and where this court must do substantial justice.
“The motion is accordingly dismissed. Similarly all applications for joinder are dismissed,” Musdapher added.