Human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Femi Falana, has stated that the Supreme Court cannot sit to hear the application by the sacked former Governor of Imo State, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha for the review of its judgment on Imo governorship election if six justices recuse themselves from the case.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had written to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, demanding that he and five other justices withdraw from the matter.
In a letter signed by the National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, and the National Treasurer, Alhaji Umar Ibrahim Tsauri, dated February 14, 2020, the party demanded that a new panel be set up to hear Ihedioha’s application.
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,” Falana said.
”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.”
The lawyer cited a similar application filed by the late Chief 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 added.
The Supreme Court is expected to make its position known on the matter