The Supreme Court has just delivered a landmark judgment, removing five state governors from office.
The court says the tenures of Governors Murtala Nyako of Adamawa, Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto, Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa, Ibrahim Idris of Kogi and Liyel Imoke of Cross River expired on May 29, 2011 and that their stay in office ever since was illegal.
The Speakers of the affected state houses of assemblies will take over as acting governors untill new helsmen are installed.
The implication of this judgment is not clear given that the Independent National Electoral Commission has already conducted a fresh governorship election in Kogi and was already planning to conduct those of Adamawa, Sokoto, Bayelsa and Cross River.
The five governors had had their elections nullified. Fresh elections were conducted, and the governors ran to court to challenge INEC’s insistence that in spite of the reruns, their tenure would end on May 29, 2011.
The governors prevailed at both the high and appellate courts, victories that enabled them to hang on to power, as the electoral body excluded their states from the governorship elections conducted last year.
But INEC did not give up the fight. It approached the apex court to challenge the judgments of the lower courts.
Messrs Nyako, Wamakko and Imoke have already secured the governorship tickets of the Peoples Democratic Party and are billed to stand for reelection.
Mr. Sylva has however been disqualified, and there are speculations he might be arrested having been stripped of immunity by the court ruling removing him from office.
More details later…