The Supreme Court on Monday gave President Goodluck Jonathan and the National Assembly till Wednesday to settle their disagreement over the process of amending the 1999 Constitution.
The seven-man panel of the apex court, led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, asked the senior lawyers appearing in the matter to broker the settlement talk.
The court then adjourned till Wednesday for the report of the settlement.
The surprise twist came after the counsel for the plaintiff, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN), failed in his bid to change the plaintiff from the AGF to President Jonathan.
Ojo appeared with Duro Adeyele (SAN) for the plaintiff while Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) led three other SANs — Ikechukwu Ezechukwu, Yakubu Maikyau and Mrs. Victoria Awomolo — for the National Assembly.
Ojo had anchored the application filed on May 20, 2015 on the provisions of Order 3, Rules 1, 14 and 15 of the Supreme Court Rules and Order 17, Rules 1 and 2 as well as Order 9 Rule 2 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules.
As soon as he moved the motion, some members of the panel took turn to fault it on the grounds that Ojo ought to have filed an entirely fresh suit in the name of the President as the plaintiff, instead of filing an application for the substitution of the AGF.
The panel also maintained that since the AGF who was being sought to be substituted was believed to be a wrong plaintiff in the suit; he lacked the competence to file an application to bring in the competent plaintiff.
“You can’t build something on nothing and expect it to stand,” one member of the panel told Ojo.
The panel also maintained that there was no way the court could grant the second prayer in the application which sought an order amending all the processes in the suit to reflect the President as the new plaintiff.
The CJN explained that such an order could not be granted in view of the fact that the court lacked the power to amend the supporting affidavit which was one of the processes being referred to by Ojo.