See 5 Judges Handling Presidential Election Petitions, Their Previous Judgements
As Nigerians anxiously await the rulings on the petitions challenging the February 25 presidential election, we delve into the backgrounds of the five jurists of the Presidential Election Petition Court, who have the opportunity to make a lasting impact.
After three months of legal proceedings, the five-member panel of the Presidential Election Petition Court, located in Abuja, reserved judgments on the various petitions filed to contest the outcome of the February 25 presidential election.
Though the court’s decision is not final, as dissatisfied parties can still appeal to the Supreme Court, many believe that the judgments of the jurists will significantly influence the Supreme Court’s ultimate decision, either in agreement or disagreement.
At this moment, while Nigerians eagerly anticipate the panelists’ verdicts, it is essential to examine their backgrounds and experiences.
Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani:
Born on November 23, 1959, Justice Haruna Tsammani hails from Tafawa Balewa LGA of Bauchi State. He earned his LL.B degree from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1982, and subsequently completed his BL at the Nigerian Law School, Lagos, in 1983. He began his career as a High Court judge in Bauchi State on September 17, 1998, and later rose to the Court of Appeal on July 16, 2010.
Although this is his first time participating in a presidential election petition court, Justice Tsammani is well-versed in handling intra- and inter-party disputes in Nigeria. He has presided over various election and financial cases, including the VAT case between the Rivers State Government and the federal government. Notably, he led the panel that dismissed Abiola Ajimobi’s petition challenging the 2019 Election Petition Tribunal’s judgment upholding PDP’s Kola Balogun as the winner of the senatorial election for Oyo South. He is ranked 12th on the seniority list of the Court of Appeal.
Justice Stephen Adah:
Born on June 13, 1957, Justice Stephen Adah is from Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State. He earned his LL.B degree from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1981, and completed his BL at the Nigerian Law School, Lagos, in 1982. He became a judge of the Federal High Court on November 12, 1998, and later elevated to the Court of Appeal on November 5, 2012. He currently serves as the presiding Justice of the Asaba Division of the Court of Appeal.
Throughout his career, Justice Adah has delivered verdicts on various cases, including a significant decision in the appeal filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2020 against a trial court’s decision concerning former President Goodluck Jonathan’s cousin, Robert Azibaola. He is ranked 22nd on the seniority list of the Court of Appeal.
Justice Mistura Bolaji-Yusuf:
As the only female member of the five-man panel, Justice Misitura Bolaji-Yusuf was born on August 7, 1959, and hails from Oyo West LGA of Oyo State. She earned her LL.B degree from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in 1983, and completed her BL at the Nigerian Law School the following year.
She became a Judge of the High Court of Oyo State on January 30, 1997, and later elevated to the Court of Appeal on March 24, 2014. Although her media presence has been relatively low, her ruling as a High Court judge in Oyo played a crucial role in nullifying the impeachment process against the then governor, Rashidi Ladoja, a decision upheld by the Supreme Court. She was also part of the panel that affirmed Governor Godwin Obaseki’s first-term election and validated the candidature of the Obaseki-faction for the 2023 elections.
Justice Boloukuoromo Ugo:
At 57 years old, Justice Boloukuoromo Ugo is the youngest among the panelists. He hails from Kolokuma/Opokua Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. He obtained his LL.B degree from the University of Calabar in 1989, and his BL certificate from the Nigerian Law School in Lagos the following year. He was appointed a Judge of the High Court of Bayelsa State on March 21, 2006, and later elevated to the Court of Appeal on March 24, 2014.
Despite being less visible in the media, Justice Ugo’s participation in the Presidential Election Petition Court marks a significant moment in his career, bringing him onto a national and potentially global stage where the public can gain insights into his judicial thinking. He is ranked 44th on the seniority list of the Court of Appeal.
Justice Abba Mohammed:
Hailing from Kano State, Justice Abba Mohammed was born on February 19, 1961. He obtained his LL.B degree from the Institute of Administration, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1984, and completed his BL certificate the following year at the Nigerian Law School in Lagos.
He was appointed a judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in 2010 and was later promoted to the Court of Appeal on June 28, 2021. His significant role as the Chairman of the Nasarawa State Governorship Election Tribunal in 2019 showcased his capabilities. He is currently ranked 71st among the 76 judges on the roll call of the Court of Appeal.
These five jurists hold the responsibility of making critical judgments in the presidential election petitions, and their decisions may have far-reaching consequences. As Nigerians eagerly anticipate their verdicts, the potential impact of their rulings on the nation’s legal landscape is immense.