As the Supreme Court of Nigeria prepares to commence hearings on the appeals filed by prominent presidential candidates challenging the judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Court, the legal world is keeping a close eye on these seven distinguished justices who will play a pivotal role in deciding the fate of the nation’s leadership. The appeals involve the presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar; the Labour Party’s Peter Obi; and the Allied Peoples Movement’s Chichi Ojei. The key decision at stake is whether the victory of President Bola Tinubu in the February 25 election will be upheld.
In accordance with the Order 2 Rule 1(2) of the Supreme Court’s Rules 1985, as amended, the notices for the hearings have been deemed sufficiently served on all the parties involved, setting the stage for a momentous legal battle.
The seven-member panel presiding over these landmark appeals consists of five male and two female justices. Let’s take a closer look at their distinguished careers:
1. Justice Uwani Musa Abba Aji:
Justice Uwani Musa Abba Aji, born on November 7, 1956, in Gashua, Yobe State, embarked on a remarkable journey that led her to the Supreme Court. Her illustrious career includes positions such as Chief Magistrate and High Court Judge, making her the first female judge at the Yobe State Judiciary. Before her elevation to the Supreme Court on January 8, 2019, she served as the Presiding Justice at the Court of Appeal Kaduna Division for four years.
2. Justice Emmanuel Agim:
Justice Emmanuel Agim, born on April 26, 1960, in Obudu, Cross Rivers State, boasts a diverse legal background. Serving as the President of the Court of Appeal of The Gambia and later as the Chief Justice of The Gambia, he has earned his place as a justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria since October 2019.
3. Justice Mohammed Lawal Garba:
Born on November 16, 1958, in Gusau Local Government Area of Zamfara State, Justice Mohammed Lawal Garba’s career spans various judicial roles, including Judge of the High Court of Justice, Sokoto State, and Chief Judge of High Court, Zamfara State. Notably, he led the five-man presidential election petition tribunal that dismissed the petition filed by the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory in the 2019 poll. He was elevated to the Supreme Court on November 6, 2020.
4. Justice Helen Moronkeji Ogunwumiju:
Justice Helen Ogunwumiju, born on March 23, 1957, hails from Ondo State. Her legal career includes roles as Chief Magistrate Grade 1 in Oyo State, Judge of the High Court of Ondo State, and an appointment to the Election Petition Tribunal in Taraba State. She was elevated to the Supreme Court on November 6, 2020.
5. Justice Ibrahim Musa Saulawa:
Born on September 29, 1956, in Katsina, Katsina State, Justice Ibrahim Musa Saulawa has served as Chief Magistrate, Deputy Chief Registrar/Chief Registrar, High Court Judge, and Judge of the Court of Appeal before his elevation to the Supreme Court on November 10, 2020.
6. Justice Tijjani Abubakar:
Justice Tijjani Abubakar, born on April 15, 1960, boasts a diverse career that includes serving as Attorney General, Permanent Secretary, and Commissioner for Justice of Yobe State. After a period of private practice, he was appointed a judge of the Federal High Court and later as a Justice of the Court of Appeal in 2012. In 2020, he was appointed as one of the Justices of the Supreme Court.
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7. Justice Adamu Jauro:
Justice Adamu Jauro, born on June 26, 1959, from Gombe State, has had a remarkable career that includes roles in the Ministry of Justice and later as a judge of the Gombe State Judiciary and the Court of Appeal. He was elevated to the Supreme Court in November 2020.
These seven eminent judges, with their diverse backgrounds and extensive experience, now hold the responsibility of making a historic decision that will have a lasting impact on the outcome of the appeals filed by Atiku Abubakar, Peter Obi, and Chichi Ojei. Nigerians and the world await their judgment, which is set to be delivered by November 6, 2023.
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