The Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned till March 2, 2020 to review the judgment on election petition in Imo state.
In the same vein, the Zamfara state gubernatorial election review matter has also been slated for the 2nd March, 2020 for hearing.
The former governor of Imo state, Ihedioha is asking the apex court to set aside its earlier judgment that declared Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the March 9, 2019 election in the state.
When the matter came up for mention on Tuesday, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its Imo State governorship candidate, Emeka Ihedioha requested for seven days from the Supreme Court, to regularize their processes.
The former governor and his party PDP in their filed application through their Counsel, Kanu Agabi, SAN, is contesting that Uzodinma obtained the judgment by deceit, saying that the apex court was misled to have given that judgment.
Ihedioha described the judgment as a nullity, asking that it be set aside.
However, while opposing Ihedioha’s application and claims, the APC had through their lawyer, Damian Dodo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria in a 19-paragraph affidavit argued that the 60 days time lag allowed by the constitution for hearing has since elapsed.
The counter affidavit stated partly: “The undisputed facts relating to the respondents’/applicants’ motion hereinafter referred to as “the motion” are to the effect that the judgment of the Court of Appeal was delivered on 21st September 2019, while the one sought to be set aside, was delivered on 14th January 2020.
Clearly, the 60 days allowed by Section 285(7) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) for this Hon. Court to hear and determine an appeal from the Court of Appeal in an election matter, lapsed on January 17, 2020. The motion to set aside was filed on February 5, 2020, 19 days after the time allowed by the Constitution.
“It is now a settled law that the 60 days’ time limit to determine and conclude litigation on election matters is sacrosanct and cannot be extended by any guise,” they stated in the counter-affidavit filed on their behalf by
Consequently, Agabi asked the court to grant him a short adjournment to enable him file and receive all processes needed to prove his case.
Respondents in the case did however raise any objection on the application.
Having listened to all the parties, the seven-member panel of the apex court led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Muhammad, adjourned to March 2, for hearing.
Others on the panel were Justices Olukayode Ariwoola, Inyang Okoro, Paul Gaumeje and Uwani Aba Aji.
In a related development, the hearing of the All Progressives Congress’ application seeking the review of the May 24, 2019 judgment which nullify the victory of all the party’s candidate at the 2019 general elections in Zamfara state has also been adjourned till the 2nd March for hearing.
Justifying the adjournment, led by the CJN Justice Tanko Muhammad, the five – man panel observed that the 141st to the 178th respondents to the application were neither served with the hearing notice nor represented in court.
The APC had through its counsel, Robert Clarke (SAN), filed an application on June 17, 2019, asking the Supreme Court to “review, amend, correct and/or set aside the consequential orders” contained in the May 24, 2019 judgment of the apex court.
The APC and other applicants were represented by Chief Robert Clarke (SAN) at the Tuesday’s proceedings, while Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), represented the Kabiru Marafa faction of the party which obtained the May 24, 2019 judgment which nullified the party’s victory at the last year’s polls.
The Supreme Court had on August 22, 2019 struck out the APC’s application but it was refiled in November 2019 by the party’s lawyer, Chief Robert Clarke (SAN).
The apex court had in a unanimous judgment of the five-man panel led by the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, delivered on May 24, 2019, declared that APC never conducted primary elections, thus had no valid candidates for the general elections.