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Reconstitute fresh panel to review Imo guber poll verdict, PDP tells CJN

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad, to reconstitute a new panel to review January 14, 2020, Supreme Court ruling which unseated Chief Emeka Ihedioha and returned Senator Hope Uzodinma as Imo State governor.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared the former as the winner of the March 9, 2019, gubernatorial poll in the state. The decision was earlier upheld by both the elections tribunal and the appellate court before the apex court overruled both last month.

But in a letter signed by PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus and the National Secretary, Ibrahim Tsauri, the main opposition party said it had become “imperative that Tanko (Muhammad) and the other justices who served in that panel be replaced to ensure that fairness and justice is (are) not only done but seen to have been done.”

The correspondence, dated February 14, 2020, and received yesterday, was titled, “Demand For Recusal Of Justices That Heard The Earlier Case And Request For A Different Panel To Hear The Application To Set Aside Judgment.”

PDP said: “As a follow-up to our earlier call on all members of the panel to recuse themselves, we have now sought to formalise that request or demand. We hereby request that the seven persons that heard the case earlier recuse themselves from participating in the consideration of this new application. We are not unmindful of the fact that a litigant cannot dictate to the court the panel that should hear its case. However due to the extraordinary circumstances and the nature of this case, we think that our request is a fair one that meets the justice of the case.

“Consequently, we feel it is our patriotic duty to hereby humbly request that your Lordship constitute a different panel of this great court (other than the one that delivered the judgment) for the purpose of hearing this application.”

It beseeched them CJN to note that, “there are judicial precedents in Nigeria, Great Britain and the United States of America in support of our request for reconstitution of a different panel to handle the current application before the court.”

Specifically, the party requested that “their Lordships, The Hon. Chief Justice Tanko Muhammad, CJN; The Hon Justice Nwah Sylvester Ngwuta JSC; The Hon Justice Olukayode Ariwola, JSC; The Hon Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, JSC; The Hon Justice Amina Adamu Augie, JSC; The Hon Justice Uwani Musa Abba Aji, JSC; recuse themselves from participating in hearing the application for setting aside their earlier judgment in the above case on grounds of likelihood of bias, that is, fair hearing.”


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