Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
The Supreme Court has issued notices scheduling the hearing of three appeals challenging the election of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State for Tuesday.
Our correspondent confirmed on Saturday that two on the three appeals coming up for hearing were filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and the Socialist Democratic Party along with their respective candidates to challenge Bello’s victory at the November 16, 2019 poll.
The hearing notices sent as short phone messages to the law firms involved in the cases indicated that COVID-19 protocols would be strictly enforced during Tuesday’s proceedings.
The apex court’s Director/Head of Department, Litigation, Ibrahim Gold, who signed the hearing notices seen by our correspondent on Saturday, stated that in line with the COVID-19 protocols, only lawyers with names on the counsel’s list would be allowed to enter into the courtroom.
Gold added that only five lawyers per appearance would be allowed entry.
Our correspondent sighted the hearing notices sent out in respect of the appeals filed by the PDP and the SDP.
One of the notices read, “Take notice that the above Appeal will be listed for hearing before the Supreme Court of Nigeria on Tuesday, August 25, 2020.
“And further take notice that in accordance with the Supreme Court Rules, this Notice is deemed sufficiently served on you if it is delivered on your Information and Communication gadgets.
“Further take notice that COVID-19 protocols shall be fully and strictly enforced. It’s only the Counsel who are appearing and whose name is entered in the Counsel List (not more than 5 Counsel per Appearance) will be admitted into the Court and no more.”
The three appeals coming up for hearing at the Supreme Court on Tuesday are against the July 4, 2020 judgments of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal which affirmed the victory of Bello in the November 16, 2019 governorship election in the state.
In separate judgments of the Court of Appeal, all of which were unanimous, the five-man panel of the court led by Justice Adamu Jauro had dismissed the four appeals for lacking in merit.
The appeals dismissed were filed b PDP, SDP, Democratic People’s Party, and Actions Peoples Party.
Although the Court of Appeal had in separate judgments dismissed four cases challenging the outcome of the poll, only three of the appellants were able to file their appeals at the Supreme Court within the time stipulated by law.
Earlier on May 23, 2020, the three-man of the Kogi State Governorship Election Tribunal which sat in Abuja had in a split judgment of two-to-one dismissed the petition by PDP and its governorship candidate, Musa Wada, and affirmed Bello’s election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress.
The majority judgment of the Justice Kashim Kaigama-led three-man tribunal dismissed Wada’s petition, while the minority judgment by Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele upturned Bello’s victory and ordered a rerun in seven local government areas of the state.
The Court of Appeal in its July 4, 2020 judgment unanimously affirmed the tribunal’s majority judgment.