… Ihedioha, Ortom, Fintiri, Bala too
… Judge’s ill health stalls Monday proceedings
There is an uneasy calm in the camps of seven state governors and their supporters as the Supreme Court will today (Tuesday) determine the validity or otherwise of their victories at the last general elections.
The governors are; Umar Ganduje(Kano), Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (Sokoto), Bala Mohammed(Bauchi) and Emeka Ihedioha of Imo state.
The rest are Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau state, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri (Adamawa state) and Samuel Ioraer Ortom of Benue state.
Like the governors, supporters of the petitioners and their parties are also worried on what might be the outcome of the judgement.
The various election petitions tribunal had declared the governors winners of the election.
But their challengers were dissatisfied with the rulings and therefore, preceded to the Appeal Court where the judgements were also upheld.
Still dissatisfied, the challengers took their cases to the Supreme Court as the final arbiter.
The apex court was billed to give its judgements but announced its postponement till today following the absence of one of the judges said to have taken ill.
At a crowded hall filled by supporters of all the parties concerned, Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, who led the court’s seven-man panel, said one of the panel members, whom our reporter later identified as Justice John Inyang Okoro, was sick.
Other members of the panel were Justices Sylvester Ngwuta, Olukayode Ariwoola, Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, Amiru Sanusi and Uwani Abba-Aji.
Some moments after calling parties in the appeal in respect of Kano, their lawyers-Abbah Yusuf and Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN)-presented their briefs and prayed the court to allow the appeal, only for the proceedings to be stalled via the CJN’s announcement.
The CJN subsequently told the court that the panel would rise briefly to return later.
About one hour later, instead of the panel returning, an official of the court announced that proceedings had been rescheduled for the next day, citing the issue of the ailing judge.
Just last week, the apex court affirmed the elections of governors of four states namely; Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia state (PDP), Darius Ishaku (Taraba, PDP), Ifeanyi Okowa(Delta, PDP) and Abubakar Bello (Niger, APC).
In its series of hearings and judgements delivered within six hours, the seven-member panel of the Supreme Court reaffirmed verdicts earlier given at the lower courts.