CJN Reveals What Is Taking Away Independence Of Judiciary
CJN Tanko Mohammed/file

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Mohammed, is leading six other Supreme Court justices to hear the appeal filed by the PDP and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar against the judgement of the tribunal affirming the election of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Concise News understands that Justice Mohammed and six other members of the panel filed into the courtroom at about 9.09 a.m. on Wednesday set for the hearing.

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Other members of the panel are Justices Bode Rhodes-Vivour, Kayode Ariwoola, John Okoro, Amiru Sanusi, Ejembi Eko and Uwani Abba-Ajji.

This news medium also learned that Justices Sylvester Ngwuta and Mary Odili are not on the panel constituted.

A caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the House of Representatives had asked that Odili, Ngwuta and Rhodes-Vivour be appointed to the panel to hear the appeal.

Odili, a senior justice, is the wife of the former Rivers state governor and founding member of the PDP, Peter Odili.

Rhodes-Vivour, another senior justice, is the father of Gbadebo, who ran for Lagos west senatorial seat on the platform of the PDP in the last election.

Ngwuta, a senior justice, resumed duties at the supreme court in September after being prosecuted for alleged corruption by the Buhari administration.

Concise News had reported that the tribunal had dismissed Atiku’s petition challenging the outcome of the February 23 presidential election.

The PDP and Atiku then formally filed their 66 grounds of appeal against the judgment in September.

The appellants, in their notice of appeal, held that the tribunal erred in its decision to dismiss its petition against the election of President Muhammadu Buhari.

They alleged that the panel of the presidential election tribunal erred in law “when they relied on “overall interest of justice” to hold that the second Respondent’s (President Muhammadu Buhari) exhibits R1 to R26, P85, and P86 were properly admitted in evidence.”

They also alleged among other reasons that the tribunal erred in law “when they held thus: “My firm view is that Section 76 of the Electoral Act is clearly inapplicable to the issues under consideration.

“The form referred to are the form to be used in the conduct of the election as FORM CF001 had been taken care of in Section 31 of the Electoral Act and the said FORM CF001 is tied to the steps laid down in the said Section 31 of the Electoral Act.

“More importantly, the law is firmly settled that a candidate is not required by the Constitution or the Electoral Act to attach his certificates to FORM CF001 before the candidate can be considered or adjudged to have the requisite educational qualifications to contest the election.”

They also alleged that the tribunal erred in law when they held thus: “There was/is no pleadings in the Petition to the effect that 2nd Respondents failure to attach his certificates to Form CF001 amounts to lack of educational qualification to contest the election.

“In other words, the issue of failure to attach certificates which have been flogged throughout the length and breadth of the Petitioners Address (es) in Reply to 1st, 2nd and 3rd Respondents final written address is not the case of the Petitioner in the pleadings. No issue was joined on nonproduction of certificates or failure to attach them as an infraction of section 131, 137 and 138 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.

“All submission about the failure to produce certificates or attach same to CF001 is hereby discountenanced. Even if it can be said that the submissions made are in tandem with the Petitioners Pleadings on issues 1 and 2 the fact remains that none of the facts pleaded were proved or established as required by law.”