Hon Justice John Inyang Okoro of the Supreme Court of Nigeria fell sick on the bench Monday morning just when the court’s seven-man panel was about to commence hearing of the governorship election petition involving Kano State governor and his challenger, Abba Kabir Yusuf.
The court was forced to adjourn hearing in the matter and that of other states till tomorrow (Tuesday). It is not clear if the Justice Okoro would still be part of tomorrow’s hearing.
The Supreme Court could not hear the submissions of any of the counsel in the matter even though appearances have been announced. Earlier in the day, the court was forced to stand down its proceedings to give room for security operatives to control an unruly crowd that was threatening to disrupt the court. The presiding judge, who is Nigeria’s Chief Justice, Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, had ordered for the control of the crowd.
A Kano based lawyer told Judicialsketch.com that “in the event that Justice Okoro could not be available tomorrow, any other justice could replace him, especially since it was the hearing that was aborted. The hearing would have to start afresh. So, it is very likely that everything would go on tomorrow as supposed.”
Kano State Attorney-General, Ibrahim Mukhtar said it is understandable that someone falls sick in this kind of situation of intellectual and physical assertion, dispelling the rumour of underhand play in the matter.
With this development, there is the possibility that the court could give judgement after hearing tomorrow and reserve its reason for another day. The judgement of the Court of Appeal in the Kano petition was given on the 22nd day of November, 2019, and the Supreme Court has only 60 days after that to deliver its judgement.