The Court of Appeal in Abuja has in less than 12 days to the governorship election, administered judgement on the one-year tenure extension for five serving Nigerian governors and upheld the ruling by a lower court which had barred the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from conducting the gubernatorial elections scheduled for April 26th in the five states.
Recall that a federal judge had ruled that the tenure of five governors, specifically, Liyel Imoke of Cross River; Aliyu Wammako of Sokoto; Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa; Murtala Nyarko of Adamawa and Ibrahim Idris of Kogi state, will not terminate in May 2011 as stipulated by INEC.
In his ruling, Justice Paul Galinje extoled Justice Adamu Bello of the high court for his brave ruling and interpretation of Section 180 (2) (a) of the constitution.
In his words, it was devoid of sentiments but in line with an earlier interpretation given by the Supreme Court in Peter Obi Vs INEC matter. He stated that the Appeal Court justices based its judgment on facts of the law and not sentiments.
The judgment which lasted for 105 minutes was centred on the meaning of nullification and Justice.
Justice Galinje further stated that the annulment of the 2007 elections in the affected states meant the original elections never took place in the eyes of the law.
Hear him: “The earlier oath taken by the governors cannot be used as a reference point when determining when the tenure of the governors will end. This is because the election upon which they took the oath was not held in accordance with law.
“In law, there were no elections in the five states in April 2007. In the eyes of the law, the governors were not elected governors in April 2007.”
Justice Bello of the High Court, Abuja had established that it would be illegal for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct elections in the affected states since the tenure of the affected governors had not yet expired..
The tenure of the five governors, according to Justice Bello, will end on the following dates:
Ibrahim Idris (Kogi) April 5, 2012; Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) April 30, 2012; Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto) May 28, 2012; Timipre Sylva (Bayelsa) May 29, 2012, Liyel Imoke (Cross River) August 28, 2012; and Timipre Sylva (Bayelsa) May 29, 2012.
Meanwhile, as the Appeal Court upholds the judgment of an earlier ruling by an Abuja High Court that the tenure of the governors whose victory were upturned and re-run took place would stay in office for a period of four years starting from when they were sworn-in after the re-election, reactions have continued to trail the Appeal Court judgement.
The Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), through its National Assistant Secretary, Comrade Okoi Ofem Obono-Obla, while calling on the INEC to challenge the judgment in the Supreme Court described the judgement as a judicial endorsement of rigging, adding that the judgment would promote electoral fraud and also encourage governors to continue to rig elections.

News Reporter
Blank NEWS Online founding Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, Albert Eruorhe Ograka, is a Graduate of Mass Communication. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Journalism from the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ).

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