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Justice Okoro to head Supreme Court panel on presidential election petition

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Justice John Inyang Okoro has been nominated to coordinate the Supreme Court panel that will oversee the presidential election petition filed by the candidates of Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Gregory Obi, and the People Democratic Party PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, respectively.

News Band gathered that Justice Okoro is currently coordinating other Justices of the Supreme Court out of the total of eleven Justices currently serving in the apex court.

An insider, however, revealed to this medium that there is heavy arm-twisting among the Justices as the majority are insisting on following the electoral act and the federal constitution governing elections in the country devoid of technicalities.

In the meantime, it was learnt that the Chief Judge of the Federation, Chief Justice Olukayode Ariwoola and Justice Kekere-Ekun have both recused themselves to avoid conflict of interest.

Justice Ariwoola, this medium was informed, recused himself over his longstanding relationship with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu who is one of the Respondents in the petitions.

On her part, Justice Kekere-Ekun recused herself over her relationship with Alhaji Abubakar through her husband who is a serving board member of American University of Nigeria, Yola, owned by the PDP flag bearer.

Justice Okoro, it was gathered, is faced with an uphill task of securing a unanimous judgement from the seven justices required by Law to be on the panel.

Another source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, meanwhile revealed that the “arm-twisting” involves the Department of State Security (DSS) and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Yusuf Fagbemi.

Fagbemi, the source said, is the middle man between the camp of the presidency and the Supreme Court led by Justice Inyang Okoro.

It is left to be seen whether the Justices of the Supreme Court will uphold the electoral act and the constitution or whether they will rely on technicalities like the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC).

According to information gleaned from the apex court website, currently, there are eleven Justices.

With the recusal of both Chief Justices Ariwoola and Kekere-Ekun due to conflicts of interest, only nine remain from which seven will be selected.

According to the source, the three Justices are under heavy pressure to either unflinchingly adhere to the constitution without compromise, which will be a blow to the camp of Tinubu, or play along as the judges of PEPC were accused of.

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