Ahead of the Supreme Court hearing of a suit by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, seeking a review of the apex court January 14 judgment that sacked him as governor, the opposition has asked the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mohammed Tanko, to reconstitute a new panel to hear the case.
In a letter signed by its National Chairman, Uche Secondus and National Secretary, Senator Ibrahim Tsauri, the PDP said it had become imperative for the CJN and the other justices who served in the first panel that heard the suit between Ihedioha and Hope Uzodinma recuse themselves from the review application panel on grounds of likelihood of bias.
The judges are Justices are Nwah Sylvester Ngwuta, Olukayode Ariwola, Kudirat Kekere – Ekun, Amina Adamu Augie, Uwani Musa Abba Aji.
The letter dated February 14 titled: “ Demand for recusal of justices that heard the earlier case and request for a different panel to hear the application to set aside judgment “ hinged their call on the need for justice and fair hearing.
“We hereby request that the seven persons that heard the case earlier, recuse themselves from participating in the consideration of this new application.
We are not unmindful of the fact that a litigant cannot dictate to the court the panel that should hear its case.However, due to the extraordinary circumstances and the nature of this case, we think that our request is a fair one that meets the justice of the case.
“Consequently, we feel it as our patriotic duty to hereby humbly request that your Lordship constitute a different panel of this great Court (other than the one that delivered the judgment) for the purpose of hearing this application.
“My Lord, our request is founded on Section 36(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which guarantees fair hearing to every citizen or entity in the determination of his rights or obligations. Furthermore, the time honoured and tested principles of natural justice, particularly that no man shall be a judge in his own cause is particularly relevant to this solemn request.”