The Supreme Court, yesterday, adjourned till March 2 hearing in an application filed by Emeka Ihedioha, a former governor of Imo, seeking a review of the January 14 judgment that sacked him from office.
The Supreme Court had fixed, yesterday, to hear the appeal filed by Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), praying that the apex court reverses itself, after it sacked him and declared the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Hope Uzodinma, as the duly elected governor of Imo State.
At the hearing, yesterday, Mr. Kanu Agabi (SAN), lawyer to Mr. Ihedioha, filed an application stating that he needed more time to file some processes before the court.
Lawyers to Uzodinma and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not oppose the application.
The seven-man panel led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Mohammed, after listening to all the parties, adjourned to March 2.
It also adjourned till March 2, hearing in the application by APC for it to review judgment that barred its candidate from participating in the governorship election in Zamfara State.
Justice Tanko adjourned the matter after observing that some of the respondents in the case had not been served with the hearing notices.
Specifically, respondents 140-178 were not represented in court by counsel.
Meanwhile, Femi Falana (SAN) has said the apex court cannot sit to hear the application by Emeka Ihedioha for the review of its judgment if six justices recuse themselves from the case.
In a letter signed by Uche Secondus, national chairman of the PDP and Umar Ibrahim Tsauri, national secretary, dated February 14, the party demanded that a new panel be set up to hear Ihedioha’s application citing the “likelihood of bias” and “denial of right to fair hearing” as reasons.
But Falana told TheCable that there are currently 11 justices of the apex court and that if six of them recuse themselves from the case, the court would not be able to form a quorum to hear the matter.
”The PDP has asked CJN Mohammad Tanko as well as Justices Nwah Sylvester Ngwuta, Olukayode Ariwola, Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, Amina Adamu Augie, and Uwani Musa Abba Aji to recuse themselves from the application for the review of the judgment of the court in the Imo governorship case
”If the application is granted, the court may not be able to hear the application again. In other words, if six out of the remaining 11 justices of the court recuse themselves, the court will not be able to form another quorum of seven justices to hear the constitutional matter. By the time the court is reconstituted by the Federal Government the time for the review of the judgment would have long expired,” Falana said.
The lawyer cited a similar application filed by the late MKO Abiola against nine justices out of the 16 members of the court in 1995.
He said as the nine justices recused themselves from hearing the case, the appeal for the bail of Abiola was never heard because the Abacha junta refused to reconstitute the court.
“See Chief MKO Abiola v Federal Republic of Nigeria (1995) LPELR-SC.274/1994,” he said.