Update: Appeal Court Recuses Self from Ondo PDP Primaries Appeals

The Special Court of Appeal panel set up to hear matters arising from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primaries and other related matters in Ondo State, stood down Monday from hearing all appeals, following a petition written by Prince Biyi Poroye, a factional state Chairman of the party (Ali Modu-Sheriff faction), alleging financial inducement of the three-member panel to speed up hearing in the matters.
Poroye is a respondent in a motion on notice filed by one of the governorship candidates in the November 26 guber election, Chief Eyitayo Jegede, against a judgment of a Federal High Court.
Jegede was elected on the platform of the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led faction as its governorship candidate as against Ibrahim Jimoh of the Sheriff-led faction of the party.
When the matter came up for argument and possible ruling Tuesday, the chairperson of the panel, Justice Hannatu Sankey, drew the attention of counsels to the applicant and respondent, Chief Wole Olanipekun and Dr. Alex Izinyon that she has a petition against members of the panel on her table.
She said the petition which the President of the Appeal Court, the Nigerian Judicial Counsel and the Presidency, were copied was followed with a sworn affidavit.
According to Justice Sankey, the petitioner, Prince Poroye, said Ondo State Governor Segun Mimiko boasted to have spent N100m on her when she was visited the state.
Sankey further asserted that Poroye accused her of being poor because she was ill for five years, and for that she was opened to corruption. That she has been pauperised by the illness.
In his reaction, Olanipekun said he was never copied or served the petition and was just hearing of it the first time.
Olanipekun said: “It is thoroughly embarrassing, unfair, unfortunate and ungodly.
“For the snippet I have just heard it is totally unfortunate.”
He continued, ‘The lordship has not given a ruling, not even heard the appeal, the ruling has not been given but how did they know your mind. If any body is to complain it is we the applicant.
He wsrned: “We are embarking on a journey very long, tortuous and wide. I hope we will not get to a point of no return. The Lord it is under your lordship to hear the matter before the election.
“Let the Judicial institution be, it is the weakest of the three arms in a democracy.
“I don’t care about the panel my case is going to be taken to but I care about fact, about truth. It’s our right to be heard and we must be heard”, he said
Olanipekun added that if any party was to complain, it would have been his client.
Olanipekun further advised that the petition should be submitted to security agencies, “let the matter be investigated, made public the report and action taken against the petitioner” .
Izinyon, counsel to the petitioner, said he was not aware of the petition, and was speechless.
He noted that his client would have at least taken him along’saying “we don’t have an inkling of what the petition contains”
“They are politicians from both sides, court cannot be made the cariture of politicians. I have been caged by my client.
“These are people from the other side, politicians, we must guard the sanctity of the court.
I leave the decision of what to do next, it is left for you to act.
“I don’t have any evidence that you have been compromised, I will stand by you.”
The court engaged Izinyon in a question and answer session: Do you agree with him that the matter is speedy.
Izinyon: No sir
Court: One of the allegations is that we have been paid to be speedy, do you agree with that.
Izinyon: No, that can never be true.
Court: Are you still standing for him.
Izinyon: We can still continue. I hold a duty to the court and the client. It is embarrassment to me, putting me in the witness box. I have never written a petition without my name and signature. I am not a party to this petition and have never written a petition and give it to a client. After consulting with my client, if he is not satisfied with my representation, I will hand off the case file.
The court said Poroye’s action was totally to stall the course of justice. It is totally embarrassing.
“we cannot pull down the sacredness of a court because of politicians. We don’t matter but society matters. We will all pass away but society remains. The only thing that endures is truth. Truth shall remain”, a member of the panel said. .
In a short ruling, Sankey said in the interest of justice and fair hearing, it was fair for the members to recuse themselves from all appeals involving Ondo PDP
“Ordinarily since no facts have been put before this court to warrant we to recuse ourselves we would not have bordered. It is the duty of the Judge to act on the fact before it.
“Even though the petition did not show any likihood of bias we want to recuse ourselves. “We will return all the files relating to Ondo PDP matters to the President of Appeal Court for reassignment”, she ruled.

Author: News Editor

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