TENSION IN SOKOTO AS APPEAL COURT DEFIES CJN, NJC ORDER
Tension in Sokoto as Appeal Court defies CJN, NJC order
By WILLY EYA
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Tension is rising in Sokoto State over reports that the Court of Appeal in the seat of the caliphate has fixed Tuesday, March 16 to deliver judgment on the case between the state governor, Alhaji Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko and the defeated candidate of the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP), Alhaji Maigari Dingyadi despite an earlier order by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) to suspend all proceedings on the case.
Alhaji Wamakko had earlier petitioned the CJN and the National Judicial Council (NJC) that judges of the appellate court and the President, Court of Appeal have compromised their positions with regards to the case and should suspend further action pending the resolution of the allegations against them.
But the judges in the appeal tribunal are said to have fixed judgment on Tuesday with reports that there is already palpable tension in the state known for peaceful coexistence of its residents.
After the 2007 governorship election in the state, Wamakko defeated Dingyadi by a wide margin but the DPP candidate went to the election petition tribunal to challenge his mandate and lost again.
Alhaji Dingyadi further appealed the judgment at the tribunal, and the April 2007 election was nullified by the Kaduna division of the Court of Appeal.
The appellate court ordered a re-run for candidates that appeared on form C8.
At the High Court, the DPP objected to the participation of Wamakko but it ruled that it had no jurisdiction to interpret a judgment given by a superior court (Kaduna division of the Court of Appeal). The DPP still appealed the judgment by the High Court and lost again.
A re-run was later conducted on May 24, 2008 with Wamakko still beating Dingyadi by even a wider margin than in the 2007 governorship poll.
But the DPP candidate was not done yet as he later went to the Supreme Court over his earlier objection to the participation of Wamakko in the re-run election. After losing the re-run, Dingyadi again went to the election tribunal, lost again and headed to the Sokoto appeal tribunal where the case is at the moment.
But not satisfied with the ding-dong judicial processes, Wamakko petioned the CJN and the NJC on grounds that the Appeal Court judges and the President, Court of Appeal were compromised on the case.
As a result of the petition, the CJN queried the Appeal Court president and directed that the appeal tribunal in Sokoto suspend all proceedings until the allegations are investigated.
A committee to do that started work on Monday but the judges in the appeal tribunal in defiance to the directive by the CJN has set Tuesday for judgment.