The Supreme Court, yesterday, shifted hearing on the application seeking to reverse the judgment that sacked Mr. Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as governor of Imo State till today.
A seven-man panel of justices of the apex court led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Muhammad, adjourned the case at the instance of the counsel to Ihedioha, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), who asked for time to respond to court processes that were served on him by Mr. Damian Dodo (SAN), lawyer to Governor Hope Uzodinma and the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the courtroom.
However, Mr. Dodo, counsel to Uzodinma and the APC, said his clients were ready for the hearing to proceed.
“The application was only served because we received their own process on Friday, so today is the earliest date for us to serve them. We are ready to go on,” he said.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) through its lawyer, Mr. Taminu Inuwa (SAN), also said it was also ready.
Justice Tanko Muhammad, in a short ruling adjourned the matter till today for hearing.
In the suit filed before the apex court, Ihedioha submitted that Uzodinma fraudulently misled the court into holding that 213,495 votes were unlawfully excluded from the votes he scored leading to his being announced as the governor.
In a related matter, the apex court also adjourned hearing on the application brought by the APC for a review of the judgment that sacked its candidates that won elections as senators, House of Representatives, House of Assembly and governor in Zamfara State in the 2019 elections.
A five-man panel of justices of the apex court headed by Justice Tanko Muhammad adjourned the matter to enable the applicants effect service of all legal processes on some of the respondents.
The fresh application was brought by a faction of the APC led by former governor, Abdulaziz Yari.
When the matter was called up for hearing, yesterday, the 141st to 178th respondents were not represented by a lawyer.
The CJN-led panel noted that there was no evidence that they were duly served with all the processes and the hearing notice.
Consequently, counsel to the applicants, Chief Robert Clarke, pleaded for an adjournment to enable him to either serve them or to apply for leave to delist them as parties to the action.
He told the court that the respondents were all members of the APC in Zamfara, insisting that they were in one accord with the party on why the apex court should reverse its judgment. Clarke said the matter could be effectively decided in the absence of the affected respondents.
Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) who appeared for the Senator Kabiru Marafa-led faction of the APC in Zamfara, cited as the first to 140th respondents, told the panel that lawyers that previously represented the other respondents declined to accept service on their behalf.
Ozekhome said he filed a preliminary objection to challenge the competence of the application on a political matter that had become statute barred. After listening to the parties, the apex court adjourned the matter to March 17 for hearing.
The applicants are challenging the Supreme Court judgment in Zamfara state on the basis of its consequential orders that handed victory to candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state.