Prominent Appellate Judge Dies During Supreme Court Promotion Process | #NwokeukwuMascot
|Justice Joseph Shagbaor Ikyegh.
Federal appellate judge, Justice Joseph Shagbaor Ikyegh, has tragically passed away while in the process of being promoted to the Supreme Court. The 65-year-old judge collapsed in his hometown of Makurdi and was pronounced dead shortly after.
Justice Ikyegh was the president of the Port Harcourt division and was known for his involvement in a controversial election case in Ogun. He led a panel that upheld a lower tribunal decision, which was criticized by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party. The decision was based on a technical claim regarding the certification of Governor Dapo Abiodun by the electoral office INEC.
While Justice Ikyegh and another judge on the panel upheld the decision, Judge Jane Esienanwan Inyang dissented, stating that there was no justification for upholding Governor Abiodun’s position. The case was subsequently appealed to the Supreme Court by Ladi Adebutu, Governor Abiodun’s main challenger in the governorship poll.
This ruling has been considered one of the most controversial election petition verdicts of the season. Governor Abiodun has denied any allegations of judiciary interference, and Justice Ikyegh has been described by family and friends as a dedicated and fair jurist. The National Judicial Council has confirmed the existence of a petition but has declined to comment further on the matter.
Born in 1958, Justice Ikyegh was among the judges slated for promotion as associate justices of the Supreme Court. The promotion process began recently and was expected to be completed by December 31, 2023.