Governorship candidate of the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) in the April 26 election in Delta State, Chief Great Ogboru, got a final legal knockout on Friday as the Supreme Court declared that he was defeated by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan.
The judgement effectively ended Ogboru’s endless quest to unseat Uduaghan.
Justice Clara Ogunbiyi, in the lead judgement, read by Justice Suleiman Galadima, dismissed the motion filed by Ogboru’s counsel, Dickson Osuala, seeking an order of the Supreme Court to set aside its judgement in consolidated appeals nos. SC.18/2012 and SC.18A/2012, which held that there was no valid judgement in the Delta State appeal.
In the earlier judgement of the court delivered by Justice Tanko Mohammed, on March 2, 2012, the apex court said there was no valid judgement in the Delta State appeal and, accordingly, declared the judgement of the Court of Appeal, including its reasons, as null and void and consequently struck it out.
But ruling on the motion which had sought the Supreme Court to reverse itself, Justice Galadima held that the fact that Ogboru’s initial counsel, Mr Sebastine Hon (SAN), had earlier filed and withdrawn a similar application, admitting the new application by Osuala, who took up the matter on behalf of Ogboru amounted to an abuse of the process of the court.
The apex court held that from the motion filed by Osuala, the subject matter and reliefs sought were the same as the one earlier withdrawn by Hon.
“From the motion filed by Osuala and the one withdrawn by Hon, the totality reveals that the two are very similar in nature. The certainty of this fact is conceded to by the applicants themselves in paragraphs 19 and 20 of the affidavit in support of the motion, wherein the former counsel, Mr Sebastine Hon, was seriously indicted for allegedly acting without his client’s authority in the motion earlier struck out” the court held.
He said the argument and submission of Osuala that Hon was not authorised by Ogboru to withdraw the motion was tantamount to setting a bad precedence in the legal profession. “In a freehand concept, a counsel stands at the Bar as an authority; he is not a steward or a slave to his client. He does not need the authority of his client to make concession or compromise. So, saying that Chief Hon’s withdrawal of the motion was unauthorised was demeaning and unacceptable,” Justice Galadima posited.
However, the court observed that “The only thing open to a client is to withdraw instructions from the counsel if the counsel is professionally negligent”