The Supreme Court on Tuesday, March 9, struck out two appeals filed by the immediate-past governor of Bayelsa state, Henry Seriake Dickson and his party – the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
It was gathered that the appeals were filed on January 7, against a Court of Appeal judgment in Port Harcourt 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 accelerated hearing by the Federal High Court.
Justice Mary Odili led the five-man panel of the Supreme Court that struck out both appeals after their lawyers, including Sir Friday Nwosu, agreed to formally withdraw the appeals.
According to 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.
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.
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.
Eneoriekumoh has since appealed the decision at the Court of Appeal, Port-Harcourt.
With the Supreme Court’s decision on Tuesday, parties will now return to the Court of Appeal in respect of the appeal by Eneoriekumoh.