- As Supreme Court Postpones Judgment on Kano, Benue, Bauchi, Plateau
The Action Alliance’s governorship candidate in the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Imo State, Uche Nwosu, on Tuesday, withdrew the appeal he filed against the election of Governor Emeka Ihedioha.
Nwosu is a son-in-law to the immediate-past governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, who was elected to the Senate on the platform of the All Progressives Congress in the 2019 general election in the state. This is coming as the apex court has postponed ruling on Kano till Monday while its judgment in respect of Benue, Bauchi and Plateau States have been postponed indefinitely.
On Tuesday, Nwosu’s lawyer, Mr. Solomon Umoh (SAN), told the seven-man panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice Tanko Muhammad, that the decision to withdraw the appeal challenging the outcome of the last governorship election in Imo State was based on the judgment of the apex court delivered on December 20, 2019.
The referenced judgment of the Supreme Court was on a case marked SC. 1384/2019, which had declared that Nwosu was not validly nominated as a candidate of the AA to participate in the March 9, 2019 governorship poll, thus lacked the locus standi to file any case in connection with the election.
Announcing the decision to withdraw the appeal on Tuesday, Umoh said, “Based on the judgment of this court in appeal SC. 1384/2019 delivered on December 20, 2019, and subsequently, on my advice to my client, we have decided to withdraw this appeal.”
Responding, counsel for respondents to the appeal, including Governor Emeka Ihedioha, who won the election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, urged the court to dismiss the appeal having been withdrawn.Ruling, the seven-man panel unanimously dismissed the appeal..
Similarly, the Apex Court has scheduled ruling for Kano governorship polls for Monday while that of Benue and Plateau have been postponed indefinitely. A seven-man panel of justices of the apex court led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, fixed the date on Tuesday in Abuja at the hearing of the appeal filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the March 9 poll, Mr Abba Yusuf.
The court fixed Monday next week to decide the fate of the appeal after listening to arguments by the counsels representing the appellant and the respondents in the suit.
The Supreme Court also adjourned the hearing on the appeals challenging the results of governorship elections in Bauchi, Benue and Plateau states indefinitely. Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, made the announcement on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said that the court would communicate the new date to the parties involved in the case. The adjournment was to enable the apex court attend and give preference to the appeals that would expire on January 17 and 20 respectively.
Addressing journalists, counsel to Plateau State governorship candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, Mike Ozekhome, said that the adjournment was at the instance of some critical appeals that must be determined between now and Friday. He said that those appeals must be taken in line with the constitution’s provision that stipulated the period and time frame for election petition.
Ozekhome said, “Those appeals that are expiring on 17 and 20 must be taken and given preference.
“Our own for example the General J.T Useni Vs INEC and Lalong is expiring on January 28. So it should not rob shoulders in terms of time management with appeals that are expiring this Friday.”
He expressed displeasure at the lukewarm attitude of the government for not increasing the justices of Supreme Court to 21 instead of 15 sitting on those appeals. He said this would further reduce the workload on the panel of the court.