Supreme Court adjourns hearing on Adamawa, Benue, four others guber appeals

Following the sudden ill-health of one of the seven-member panel of Justices of the Supreme Court on Monday, the court has adjourned the hearing of the governorship election appeals involving seven states of the federation till tomorrow, 14th Jan.

During today’s proceedings, when the court commenced hearing of the Kano state appeal, which was the first matter on the cause list, the Chief Justice Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad announced that the court will rise because of the sudden ill-health of one of the Justices on the panel, hearing the appeals.

This happened shortly after Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), representing Abbah Yusuf of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) adopted his brief and urged the apex court to allow the appeal.

But, on noticing the health condition of one of the Justices, whose identity was not disclosed, the CJN, who presided over the seven-member panel of Justices announced that the court will have to rise.

However, Nigerian Tribune latter gathered that the Justice that took ill during the proceedings of the court yesterday was Justice Inyang Okoro.

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The CJN told the crowded court that one of the Justices hearing the case was critically sick and consequently led other six Justices out of the court to their chambers to enable them to attend to the ailing member of the panel.

After waiting for over an hour for the justices to return to the court to continue with the proceedings, at exactly 11:21 am, an official of the court announced the adjournment of all the appeals till today.

Other members of the panel, headed by the CJN, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhhamad are, Justices Nwali Ngwuta, Olukayode Ariwoola, Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, John Inyang Okoro, Amiru Sanusi and Uwani Musa Aba-Aji.

The Supreme Court was expected to hear and deliver judgments in the appeals yesterday on the governorship election appeals from the 2019 governorship elections conducted in Imo, Sokoto, Adamawa, Benue, Bauchi, Plateau and Sokoto states.

It would be recalled that Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, had, last week in a judgment of the apex court, affirmed the elections of governors Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia, PDP); Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta, PDP); Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger, APC); and Darius Ishaku (Taraba, PDP).

In the first judgement on Abia delivered by Justice Adamu Galinje, the apex court held that the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Alex Otti, failed to prove the allegation of over-voting against Ikpeazu and the PDP by relying solely on the card reader.

Ruling on the appeal filed by the APC challenging the election of Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State, Justice Ejembi Eko held that a Federal High Court, having disqualified its original candidate, the party had no flag bearer in the March 9 governorship election and ought not to have challenged the election.

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On the Niger state appeal brought by PDP’s Umar Mohammed Nasko, Justice Uwani Abba-Aji dismissed the appeal on the grounds that the issue of non-qualification and false information against Governor Bello had become statute-barred having been brought outside the 180 days allowed by law.

She said the apex court cannot interfere with the decision made by the Court of Appeal on the judgement of the Niger State Election Petitions Tribunal, adding that the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction on the matter.

In the appeal by Great Ogboru of APC against Governor Okowa of Delta, Justice Cletus Nweze ruled that the appellant dumped documents on the tribunal without demonstrating their relevance to his case.

He held that Ogboru relied too much on hearsay evidence in his allegations of over-voting and other electoral malpractices in the March 9, 2019 governorship election.

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