The much-anticipated hearing of the appeals in relation to the disputed governorship elections in about seven states by the Supreme Court ended abruptly on Monday.
The Supreme Court was to hear appeals in respect of Kano, Imo, Bauchi, Benue, Plateau, Sokoto and Adamawa states.
The day’s proceedings commenced, with the calling of the appeal in respect of the Kano dispute, in respect of which lawyers to parties – Abbah Yusuf and Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) their briefs and prayed the court to allow the appeal.
Shortly after, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, who led the court’s seven-man panel announced that one of the panel members was feeling unwell.
The CJN subsequently told a packed court that the panel would rise briefly to return later.
About one hour later, instead of the panel returning, an official of the court announced to a disappointed audience that proceedings has been rescheduled for the next day, in view of the issue of the ailing judicial officer.
The Nation learnt that the judge who suddenly took ill was identified as Justice John Inyang Okoro.
Other members of the panel were Justices Sylvester Ngwuta, Olukayode Ariwoola, Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, Amiru Sanusi and Uwani Abba-Aji.
Although it was not clear why the judge suddenly took ill, the atmosphere in the court, which was packed with a large number of lawyers, politicians and their supporters might have contributed the sudden change in the judge’s health condition.
Even though the appeals were listed for hearing on Monday, many had thought the court will deliver judgments also, going by what happened last Wednesday when the court heard and render judgments in four governorship election appeals.
The seven-man panel, led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, in the judgments given on January 8, 2020, upheld the elections of Governors Okezie Ikpeazu, Ifeanyi Okowa, Darius Ishaku and Abubakar Bello of Abia, Delta, Taraba and Niger states.