Makarfi vs Poroye: Appeal Court Reserves Judgment

The Special panel of Court of Appeal set up to look into appeals from Ondo Peoples Democratic Party crisis has Thursday in Abuja reserved judgment on the appeal filed by Senators Ahmed Makarfi and Ben Obi (Chairman and Secretary of PDP Caretaker Committee) challenging the decision of Federal High Court that recognised the leadership of Prince Biyi Poroye as the Chairman (Senator Ali Modu Sheriff led faction) of PDP in the stste.
Justice Okon Abang of a Federal High Court, Abuja, had in the judgment delivered on June 6 , 2016 recognised Sheriff led faction of the PDP and in effect its Ondo state faction as the authentic leaders of the party in the state.
Justice Abang also in same judgment affirmed the nomination of Jimoh Ibrahim and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to replace Eyitayo Jegede’s name with Jimoh Ibrahim in Ondo state governorship election scheduled for 26 November.
Arguing the appeal Thursday, Wole Olanipekun (SAN) who represented Makarfi and Obi urged the court to uphold the appeal and reverse the decisions taken by Justice Abang because they were in a error.
He said the lower court decision was not a consensus judgment as claimed by the trial Judge because the PDP was not represented in the matter .He also alleged the judgment was a fraud adding that the counsel who signed the originating summon later turned out to be the respondent counsel.
Counsel to the respondents Biyi Poroye and eight others, Beluolisa Nwofor, asked the court to dismiss the appeal for being an abuse of court process.
Nwofor (SAN) drew the court’s attention to the two separate brief of arguments filed by the appellants and urged the court to hold that it amounted to an abuse.
Alternatively, Nwofor (SAN) urged the court to hold that the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the appeal because the respondents had appealed against the ruling of November 10 even when the appeal had been entered .
He also submitted that a motion for stay of proceedings has been filed at the Supreme Court.
Nwofor said: “The first reaction is to tell the court that this Honourable court has lost jurisdiction by virtue of appeal entered in the Supreme Court. We draw your attention to a our motion filed on 15 November. .And also there is tendency to stay execution.
“The two facts are undisputed in this case. We therefore submit that the proper thing to do is to stop any further proceedings in this appeal until the Supreme Court says otherwise.
He stated further: “Ulternatively if the court says it wants to proceeds despite the above, we draw the attention of the court to the brief of the respondents which is before the court.”By way of alternative we adopt same asking the appeal be dismissed. The applicant filed two different briefs on different dates.
‘The filing of two briefs has legal consequence, which is an abuse of the process of this Honourable Court.
“The second brief constitutes abuse of court process. My saying so is based on the rule of law that when a party duplicates briefs, the more current which duplicates the first one is regarded as abuse of court process.
“I move that the brief should be considered abandoned when there are two briefs, it is considered so. When there is no brief the case is said to have been abandoned. I want the court to so hold.
Any angle you look at it, either from lack of jurisdiction or abandoned, the consequence of court order is dismissal of the appeal. I want the appeal to be dismissed.
Responding, Olanipekun said Nwofor argument was baseless going by the fact he also filed two briefs concerning the case before the Supreme Court
“My learned friend raised the abuse of court process. Paragraph 1.1 of our brief, where we specifically said we abandoned the brief of argument filed on 10 November. The law is clear enough on this. When an appellant files two briefs it is not an abuse of court process, it is the latest one the court relies on.
“On the facts before Supreme Court, my learned friend also filed two briefs,. We have trashed that issue before, it is over beaten issue.
“I want your lordships to discontenace his argument”, Olanipekun summed.
The court thereafter reserved judgment.

Author: News Editor

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