Nigeria: Supreme Court Justices Sack Five State Governors

By SaharaReporters, New York

Justices of the Supreme Court in Nigera today ruled that five state governors have no legal mandate to remain in office beyond May 2011.

A panel of the Nigerian apex court today ruled that the tenures of  Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa,  Murtala Nyako of Adamawa, Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto, Ibrahim Idris of Kogi and Liyel Imoke of Cross Rivers state had since expired since last year.

The justices declared their positions vacant.

PM NEWS, Lagos Report:

A seven- man panel of the Supreme Court in a unanimous decision this morning sacked Governors Liyel Imoke, Murtala Nyako, Ibrahim Idris, Wamako and Temipre Silva of Cross River, Adamawa, Kogi, Sokoto and Bayelsa states from office.

The court in Abuja held that the tenures of the governors started to count from the time they took their oath of office after emerging winners in their respective state governorship elections in 2007 and not from the period they took their second oaths of office after emerging winners of the re-run elections when there initial elections were nullified.

A Federal High Court had earlier held that their tenures of office started to run from their later oaths of office and oath of allegiance which they took upon their emergence as winners of their respective re run elections.

The apex court held that the trial court as well as the Court of Appeal erred in law when the considered the actions taken by the respective governors before their elections were nullified by the various Election Petition Tribunals as valid on one hand while discounting the time they spent doing those valid actions from their constitutionally prescribed tenure of office.

180. (1) subject to the provisions of this Constitution, a person shall hold the office of Governor of a State until -
(a) When his successor in office takes the oath of that office; or
(b) he dies whilst holding such office; or
(c) the date when his resignation from office takes effect; or
(d) he otherwise ceases to hold office in accordance with the provisions of this constitution.

In reaching their decision, the Supreme Court relied on section 180 (2) of the Constitution wherein the tenure of office of Governors were prescribed and held that that section did not envisage any form of elongation of occupants of the office of the Governor of the state as well as that of the President.

The section reads:
180 (2) Subject to the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, the Governor shall vacate his office at the expiration of period of four years commencing from the date when -
(a) in the case of a person first elected as Governor under this Constitution, he took the Oath of Allegiance and oath of office; and
(b) the person last elected to that office took the Oath of Allegiance and oath of office or would, but for his death, have taken such oaths.

The court held that the provisions of that section of the Constitution will stand violated if the tenure of office of the Governors is calculated from their second taking of Oath of Office and the Oath of Allegiance and stated that their tenure started counting from their first Oath of office which they all took after they were declared winners of the April 2007 elections and that they are entitled to four year terms from that date.

The court also rapped the Peoples Democratic party for attempting to abort the hearing of the matter at the court through their preliminary objections filed against all the consolidated appeals. The party had argued that the subject matter of the appeals have become academic and should be dismissed.

While dismissing the PDP’s preliminary objections, the apex court maintained that the matter is of grave constitutional importance whose subject matter is still alive and cannot be truncated on the grounds of mere technicalities.

In countering the decisions of the Federal High Court and that of the Court of Appeal, the apex court asserted that the provision of the law did not envisage an indefinite occupation of office by a Governor and did not also envisage re run elections, left alone one to be won by the same person.

It went on to hold that since acions of these governors, like contracts awarded by them, Commissioners and Special Assistants appointed by them as well as Budgets and Bills signed into law by them remained valid and subsisting when their election were annulled, that it followed that upon emerging winners of their respective re run elections, and having to take another Oaths of Office and Allegiance which is a standard procedure before they can function as Governors, that their tenure begins to count from that first oaths they took in 2007 and not the second ones they took in 2008 after their victories in the re-run elections.

—Nnamdi Felix / Abuja

160 comment(s)
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Re: My Funds Were Suppose To Be Wired to My Bank Account

Hon.Chief Judge,
It was agreed upon by President Goodluck Jonathan,and Barack Obama,that my 10.5 Million dollars inheritence funds that were suppose to be
delivered upon my best friends death,wasn't delivered.Over a three year period,high officials
tried deverting my funds to their accounts.
Now,these same two Presidents,came to an agreement to wire only 3.5 Million from CBN to my
account here in the United States,only after I paid
their transfer fee,so over three years,they schiffuled my funds around to four banks,now they said they agreed to transfer my funds,but that never happened,Can you please help retain my 7-mil.
they lined their pockets with?

I have been researching every

I have been researching every aspect of a possible career move. This post is very helpful and shows that you have a lot of knowledge on the topic. Do you have any others?
my work

This was rather inexpensive.

This was rather inexpensive.

Supreme Court correctly interpreted the constitution

please note that only the oath of office first taken is invalidated, that is under the un-amended CFRN 1999. the period spent in office before the annulment of the election is NOT. the Supreme Court sought to correct mischief by upholding the constitutional provision as against the unconstitutional desire of the sacked governors to elongate their tenures; a concept unheard of in modern democracy

the bitter truth

police and layers are our problems because they are the one this politicians are usen to do all the things they did,for instance in anambra somebody worn an election and somebody from no where claim to have worn the same election and the mater still in the court and notting is done,where are the justis,where are the nigeria layers and police who knows the truth what are they doing yet the 419ner calld igbeke is free going about his 419 business makeing mouth every where,even keep many nigeria police as his security while boko haram is outside there killing innocent nigerians and a thife goes about with over five fully armde police men ,what a shame nigeria

we cant go anywhere unless

no way foward for us untill we change as a nation and it must start with our court and police,the only hope for comon man



who is right the governor or the spreme court

the problem with us as a nation is that we dont think twise before we open our mouth if i may ask what is victory for democacy in the spreme court judgement on the five govanores, sacking them does it realy surlve the problem,it is time we rise up against this evil calld judges in this nation cause they are the problem of this country,how many of this corrupt office holders sent to jail in this country by any court,where are they when this governors win thier primary electins, why is it only after elections that judgment comes out.lets stop dicieving ourself .

Sacked govs

God has giving u the extra months so go in peace never 2 come back again.nigeria and the rule of law.supreme court thank u 4 good ruling.

new face of judgement

the tree principle of rule of law should be consider,it seems to me before that those at corridor power are above the law now its agreed that there is rule of law,kudos to supreme court.

new face of judgement

the tree principle of rule of law should be consider,it seems to me before that those at corridor power are above the law now its agreed that there is rule of law,kudos to supreme court.

liyel imoke

bobo imoke how far, abi man like you, u no want comot 4 that office?and allow those that can help and safe crs?

Point of correction

The appointed date of General Election was not April 2011... (obviously no elections were held then, so 60 days could not have elapsed in Feb 2011).Meanwhile some parties that had candidates then have been deregistered.. Also people like Timi Alaibe had tickets under labor party....But today they are back to PDP. So I guess he can go back to labor party and pick the ticket and hopefully get PDP support (similar to Ararume (PDP) vs. Ohakim (PPA) -Imo 2007) and win and then decamp back to PDP... So If I was Silva.. I woundn't be rejoicing yet until elections are held....

PDP should be voted out in the affected sacked state Govs

Nigerians should learn from the SC judgment that its time to show to PDP that they have failed this nation and thereby liable to be voted out in the affected sacked state governors.

good judgement! Pls can the

good judgement! Pls can the court put them to jail just to recover the funds they acollected as illegal governor. Untill this done, the judgement is not complete

Jehovah, the I am, is El Elyon.

Eliphaz in Job 15 said:
27 “Though his face is covered with fat
and his waist bulges with flesh,
28 he will inhabit ruined towns
and houses where no one lives,
houses crumbling to rubble.
29 He will no longer be rich and his wealth will not endure,
nor will his possessions spread over the land.
30 He will not escape the darkness;
a flame will wither his shoots,
and the breath of God’s mouth will carry him away.
31 Let him not deceive himself by trusting what is worthless,
for he will get nothing in return.
32 Before his time he will wither,
and his branches will not flourish.
33 He will be like a vine stripped of its unripe grapes,
like an olive tree shedding its blossoms.
34 For the company of the godless will be barren,
and fire will consume the tents of those who love bribes."

PDP parasites, you and your generations will wither. Jehovah, the I am, is El Elyon.

You can't sack both the lower

You can't sack both the lower and appeal courts judges for erring in law. That is the reason why we have right of appeal. Beside, our constitution did not envisage this kind of problem when it was being made. What would have been your response if the Supreme Court had upheld the decision of the lower Courts? Would you have suggested the removal of the Justices of the Apex Court? Excuse me sir, it's never done the way you have suggested.

Re: Judgment at last

Mr. Nwafor Peter, that is a well thoughtout submission. I wholly concur with you.

Not far reaching

The judgement was expected by any mind with good sense of judgement. You dont have to be a lawyer or judge to know that. Only that some people have decided to hold Nigeria by the jugular and turn the attainment of our common weal into an 'arrested development'.
But the judgement is not far-reaching enough. These marauders should have been asked to refund all salaries and allowances they collected after the expiration of their tenure.

Gov SYLVA wins

For the benefit of doubt, Section 32(1) states that “every political party shall not later than 60 days before the date appointed for a general election under the provisions of this Act, submit to the Commission in the prescribed forms, the list of the Candidates the Party Proposes to sponsor at the elections”.

The big question now is: who was PDP's governorship candidate sent to INEC in January 2011?

No doubt, more confusion has been created by SC on Nigeria's Political Scene.

Governorship Candidate of Peoples Redemption Party, (PRP), Delta State, 2007 - 2011.

SC wrong again

I do not agree with the Judgement of the SCourt. The fact remains that prior to the amendment of the Nigerian 1999 Constitution on January 10, 2011, the prevision of Section 180(2) simply implies that any governorship election annulled by Court of Appeal and a re-run election conducted, the Oath of office first taken is invalid, and unknown to Law despite the fact that policies and actions taken during the said invalid period remains valid. The reason for this is that the policies and actions taken are irreversible.

However, I want to hasten to state that by this Judgement of the SC it follows that any governorship election to be held in the five affected states must be deemed to have been held on April 26, 2011 being the date fixed by INEC for fresh governorship elections.

In addition, SC has now confirmed Gov. SYLVA as PDP Guber Candidate by provision of Section 131 of Electoral ACT 2010, because he is the valid candidate for PDP in the January 2011 PDP Primary.

@ Nwafor Peter

For your information, Wada and Awoniyi were sworn in this afternoon. What about that?

Best of the Bests

This happens to be one of d best judgements in recent times. How can a court confirmed robbers be allowed to enjoy the fruit of their riggings? Only in Nigeria! These armed robbers didnt refund their illegal salaries, yet they were given surplus by their co thieves in d judiciary. Salute to d courage of these Supreme Court judges. Good judgement, though a bit late.

What is the import of this

What is the import of this judgement on Kogi State?If these governors tenure expired on 29th May 2011,it then means that the Primary that produced Jibrin Echocho is valid.

Another victory for democracy

The supreme court judgement this morning, is no doubt, another landmark victory for democracy. My only worry is that this judgement ought to have come long time ago. Now the big question, can we still count on the judiciary?


Pls let imoke never even think of becoming a leader or taking any position in this country he fail again first nepa and now cross river the court shouldn't given him more time to still be for leaving. shame!!!


No sympathy to any of the affected governors. If not for greed Sylva would have joined in 2007 but instead chose to sheepishly and greedily ask the courts for and obtained tenure enlongation.Had he had the election then the presidency would not have had opportunity to ensnare him now, because by April 2011 election when JONATHAN was hell-bent in returning to Asorock,he had a pact with all the governors for you -return-me-i return-you-all.IGP should immediately chase all the affected governors out office, and without wasting time the accounts of the affected states should be frozen to avoid further damage.


I welcome this judgment. However, since most of the affected governors are running again, the months from May 2011 to January 2012 should be deducted from their new mandates in the event that they are "re-elected" as expected.


Hello Mr. Rommel,

I am yet to understand the connection of "Honourable" General Buhari, and the verdict of the Supreme Court, so, equally, the nasty actions of the BOKO HARAM. Why can't we think before we comment? why should you just try to express an empty hate to the person who hasn't any connection with the two? I advise that you use your opportunity of being exposed to the web and enlighten & comment on substance than establish a high degree of ignorance. Cheers!


Bravo Supreme Court!!! This is justice correction, although delayed.
GEJ, this is your 2nd term by implication so 2015 is very free for all.
God Bless Nigeria!!!!!!!!

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