By Tony Edike
THE embattled Senator Joy Emodi representing Anambra North senatorial district at the National Assembly has instituted a fresh action at the Court of Appeal Enugu praying for an order disqualifying three justices of the court from sitting, adjudicating or taking part in any processes before the court relating to her earlier application for the interpretation of the two conflicting judgments delivered by the same appeal court on her election.
The judges are Amiru Sanusi, Ladan Tsamiya and Olu Arioola both of the Enugu Division of the appellate court who had presided over the controversial appeal filed by the Anambra North Senatorial candidate of All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, Alphonsus Igbeke, who was returned as winner of the April 28, 2007.
But before the ruling of the three judges in Igbekeâ€™s case, two of the justices Ladan Tsamiya and Olu Arioola had presided over another appeal filed by the Labour Party senatorial candidate for Anambra North, Mrs. Jessie Balonwu in which they declared Emodi of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP winner of the same election.
Emodi had on April 25, 2010 approached the same appellate court to seek interpretation of the two conflicting judgments but at the hearing of the case, the three justices (Sanusi, Tsamiya and Arioola) also appeared in the matter with two other justices even when she (Emodi) had written the President of the Court of Appeal in a letter dated April 16, 2010 requesting that fresh panel be constituted to handle the case to ensure that justice was done.
However, in a reply to her request dated April 22 and signed by Mr. Akeem Akanbi, the Appeal Court president said arrangement to take her application for interpretation of the two judgments had been concluded and that the case was fixed for Monday,Â AprilÂ 26.Â The letter was, however,Â silent on the composition of the panel that would handle the case until the hearing date when three of the former justices reappeared in the matter.
However, in the fresh application filed by her counsel, Dr. V. J. O. Azinge at the appeal court yesterday, Emodi prayed for an order of the court â€œdisqualifying their Lordships Hon. Justice Amiru Sanusi, the Hon. Justice Ladan Tsamiya and the Hon. Justice Olu Arioola from sitting, further sitting, adjudicating, taking part in any of the processes before this Honourable Court in relation to Appeal No. CA/E/EPT/04/2009 or delivering any opinion/ruling/judgment therein.â€
She also urged the court to order â€œthat a new panel excluding the said Hon. Justice Amiru Sanusi, the Hon. Justice Ladan Tsamiya and the Hon. Justice Olu Arioola be constituted to determine the motions pending before this Honourable Court in Appeal No. CA/E/EPT/04/2009.â€
Emodi contended that the participation of the three justices would not guarantee fair hearing and the impartial determination of the issues arising in the motions pending before the court.
The application was supported by a seven-paragraph affidavit deposed by Maduabuchi Awaji, Personal Assistant to Emodi, whoÂ said that the participation of the three judges in the motion for interpretation of their own judgments, was against the principle of fair hearing.
Meanwhile, the five-man panel of the court headed by JusticeÂ Suleiman GaladimaÂ which heard Emodiâ€™s application for interpretation of the two earlier judgments upon which the Senate refused to swear in Chief Igbeke as her replacement, is yet to deliver its ruling on the motion.
However, it is expected that Emodiâ€™s fresh application asking the three judges to disqualify themselves from the case might forestall delivery of their decision.