Wilfred Eya and Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Following yesterday’s suspension of hearing on appeals challenging the election of governors Aminu Tambuwal, Abdullahi Ganduje, Emeka Ihedioha, Bala Mohammed, Simon Lalong and Samuel Ortom, by the the Supreme Court, fresh anxiety and tension have gripped residents of Sokoto, Kano, Imo, Bauchi, Plateau and Benue states, respectively.
Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Muhammed Tanko, deferred judgment on the cases till today citing sudden sickness of one of the judges.
Before the adjournment, the CJN had complained of rowdiness and high noise level as militating against the proceedings of the court.
Following the development, Justice Ibrahim Muhammed at about 9:02 am announced that proceedings would not continue until orderliness was restored to the courtroom.
Consequently, senior lawyers for the governors were restricted to appear with five juniors, while non lawyers were asked to leave the courtroom.
When the court reconvened at about 9:20 am, Chief Adegbeoyoga Awomolo( SAN), apologised to the panel for the rowdy atmosphere blaming it on the presence of non lawyers.
But on a lighter note, the CJN said: “It’s alright, but we went out for a different purpose, and when that was achieved, we came back.”
Thereafter, Awomolo who is counsel to Abba Yusuf in the appeal marked SC/1450/2019, challenging Ganduje’s election identified and adopted his processes in urging the court to allow the appeal and to dismiss all the preliminary objections raised against it.
However, midway into the proceeding, the CJN who led six other justices into the court, announced that the court was going to rise because one of the justices was sick.
Justices on the panel include Nwali Sylvester Ngwuta, Olukayode Ariwoola, Kudirat Keke- Ekun, John Inyang Okoro, Aminu Sanusi and Uwani Musa Aba Aji.
Daily Sun monitored the mood in the affected states and it confirmed an uneasy calm in the camps of petitioners and respondents in the election cases. Some supporters of governors whose elections are being challenged have relocated to Abuja.
In Imo, while members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are upbeat that the court would uphold Ihedioha’s victory, members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) expressed the optimism that the judgment would go in their favour.
In Sokoto, Governor Tambuwal called on his supporters and people of the state to exercise patience.
In a statement released by the governor’s Special Adviser on Media and publicity, Muhammad Bello in Sokoto, Tambuwal also asked the people of the state to discountenance any rumour that the suspension was to curry favour for the appellants.
However, tragedy befell the camp of Kano PDP as three supporters died in an auto crash along Kaduna Abuja Express.
The victims were on their way to Abuja for the judgment of the Supreme Court.
The deceased, according to a statement by Sanusi Bature Dawakin Tofa, spokesperson of the PDP gubernatorial candidate were Faisal Dabo, Abba Shehe and Hassan while those with injuries were Yahaya Muhammad and Imam.
They would be buried according to Islamic rites by their respective families in Kano, the statement said.
“ We pray for the quick recovery of the injured victims and for the deceased” said
“ May Jannatul firdaus be their final abode. We also pray to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to give their families and all of us the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss” the statement said..