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Ex-CJ defends S/Court on Sokoto guber suit

By Ise-Oluwa Ige

ABUJA— Erstwhile Chief Judge of Sokoto State, Justice Bello Abdullahi Gussau, has faulted the argument that the Supreme Court overstepped its bounds by halting a five-member panel of the Court of Appeal, Sokoto, from delivering judgment on the legal tussle between the incumbent state Governor, Aliyu Wamako and the flagbearer of the Democratic People’s Party (DPP), Muhammadu Dingyadi.

He said though the Court of Appeal is the final court of the land on gubernatorial election matters by virtue of Section 246 (3) of the 1999 constitution, yet, there was nothing wrong in what the apex court did in the case.

“Ordinarily and by law, the governorship election matters ought to end at the Court of Appeal as the final court but perhaps, the special nature of the instant case culminated in motion or application to the apex court,” he said.

Justice Gussau said allowing the lower court to go ahead with its judgment would foist a fait accompli on the Supreme Court since the live issues raised before it were yet to be decided.

The former Sokoto Chief Judge also applauded a serving justice of the apex court, Justice Dahiru Musdapher over his decision to withdraw from the panel hearing the case.

Musdapher had hinted in court that he was involved in resolving certain issues touching on the case before the court in an informal forum and that he was no longer comfortable to sit on the case.

He said the only honourable thing for a judicial officer to do in that circumstance was to withdraw as Justice Musdapher had done.

A five-member panel of the Supreme Court had, few days ago, ordered the Sokoto division of the Court of Appeal to suspend its judgment in the appeal brought by the gubernatorial candidate of the Democratic Peoples Part, DPP, Alhaji Maigari Dingyadi, seeking to nullify the election of the incumbent state Governor, Alhaji Wagatakarda.

The apex court also ordered the lower court to await the outcome of its proceedings in a separate suit with similar subject  matter before going ahead with the delivery of its verdict in the case.

The similar case pending before the Supreme Court which formed the basis upon which the apex court gave its preservative order is billed to be heard on April 1, this year.

Dingyadi is before the court to nullify the election of the incumbent governor of Sokoto State on the ground that he was not qualified to contest the poll.


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