Several justices presided over the different petitions pertaining to the 2023 presidential election when the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal began meeting in May.
Five political parties—the PDP, LP, Action Peoples Party (APP), Allied Peoples Movement (APM), and Action Alliance (AA)—had submitted separate applications to the tribunal asking for Tinubu’s victory to be overturned. The presiding justice, Justice Haruna Tsammani, is in charge of the five-member panel’s proceedings.
On the day of the final judgement, the five jurists will deliberate and possibly vote to take a final decision, in case there are disagreements on issues thrown up at trial.
The decision is, however, not final, as a displeased party can still appeal to the Supreme Court.
However, many lawyers agree that the Court of Appeal’s decision sets the tone of the final decision of the Supreme Court, either in concurrence or disagreement.
The judges presiding over the tribunal are:
- Justice Haruna Tsammani – Chief Registrar of the Court of Appeal
- Justice Stephen Adah – Court of Appeal (Asaba division)
- Justice Monsurat Bolaji-Yusuf – Court of Appeal (Asaba Division)
- Justice Moses Ugo – Kano division
- Justice Abba Mohammed – Ibadan Court of Appeal.
In this report, the profile of five eminent jurists who will deliver the verdict:
Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani
Justice Haruna Tsammani was born on November 23, 1959. He hails from Tafawa Balewa LGA of Bauchi State.
The judge obtained his LL.B degree from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1982.
He attended the Nigerian Law School, Lagos for his BL in 1983, and started as a High Court judge in Bauchi State on September 17, 1998.
He was later elevated to the Court of Appeal on July 16, 2010.
He is the longest-serving Justice of the Court of Appeal among the five members of the panel. Tsammani has spent half of his 24 years as a judge on the Court of Appeal bench which he was elevated to in July 2010.
Tsammani delivered one of the judgements of the Court of Appeal in Abuja that affirmed the second term election of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State.
He also delivered the judgement of the Court of Appeal in Abuja that issued the order restraining the Rivers and Lagos state governments from taking action on their bids to collect Value Added Tax (VAT).
Justice Mistura Bolaji-Yusuf
Justice Misitura Bolaji-Yusuf is the only female member of the five-man panel of the court. She was born on August 7, 1959, and hails from Oyo West LGA of Oyo State.
The judge obtained her LL.B degree from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in 1983. She attended the Nigerian Law School the following year for her BL certificate.
She was appointed 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.
Justice Boloukuoromo Ugo
At 57, Justice Boloukuoromo Ugo is the youngest among the judges on the panel of the Presidential Election Petition Court. He hails from Kolokuma/Opokua Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
Justice Ugo obtained his LL.B degree from the University of Calabar in 1989, before proceeding to the Nigerian Law School in Lagos the following year, for his BL certificate. 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, 2021.
Justice Stephen Adah
Justice Stephen Adah who is the presiding Justice of the Asaba Division of the Court of Appeal, was born on June 13, 1957. He hails from Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State.
Adah obtained his LL.B degree from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1981. He attended the Nigerian Law School, Lagos, for his BL in 1982.
He was appointed a judge of the Federal High Court on November 12, 1998, and later elevated to the Court of Appeal on November 5, 2012. He served as a member of the three-man panel that granted Obi and Atiku’s motions to serve Tinubu their petitions by substituted means.
Adah delivered the lead judgment of a three-member panel that affirmed the conviction of a former Plateau State governor, Joshua Dariye, on 16 November 2018. President Muhammadu Buhari would later grant a widely condemned pardon to Dariye alongside a former governor of Taraba, Jolly Nyame, after their conviction and jailing had been affirmed by the Supreme Court.
Justice Abba Mohammed
Justice Abba Mohammed hails from Kano State. He was born on February 19, 1961.
He obtained his LL.B degree from the Institute of Administration, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1984, before proceeding to the Nigerian Law School in Lagos the following year, for his BL Certificate in 1985.
Justice Mohammed was appointed a judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in 2010.
After serving for about 10 years, he was promoted to the Court of Appeal on June 28, 2021. He was the Chairman of the Nasarawa State Governorship Election Tribunal in 2019.