Imo gov’ship review: Why 7 S/Court justices can’t recuse selves

A group, Justice Advocates (JA), has faulted the call by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mohammed Tanko, to constitute a new panel to review the Supreme Court verdict of January 14, 2020, which sacked its candidate in the 2019 governorship election, Emeka Ihedioha, as Imo State governor.

Convener of the group, Dr Abimbola Fagbemi, told newsmen that as a non-partisan group committed to the rule of law and justice in Nigeria, the call by the PDP was laughable because “It is inconceivable that the Supreme Court panel of seven eminent, noble Lords that gave the judgment will be altered because the case requires constitutional interpretation and mandatorily, a panel of seven is inviolable.”

According to him, at present, there are 11 members of the Supreme Court and recusing seven would leave only four justices who cannot form a quorum to hear a constitutional case.

“Aside from that, it is believed that those four justices have sympathy for the PDP for which it will be morally wrong to allow them to adjudicate on a matter they have interest,” he said.

“The panel of  Supreme Court Justices led by the CJN heard the case,  gave its judgment and naturally a review of that judgment must be by the panel that allegedly made the mistake (as purported by the PDP and its governorship candidate) as to do otherwise will mean another panel sitting on appeal above the CJN,” he said.

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