Sequence to the bribery allegations by the factional Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party in Ondo State, Prince Biyi Poroye against members of special panel of Court of Appeal set up to hear appeals arising from Ondo PDP primaries, Dr. Alex Iziyon (SAN), counsel to Poroye and eight others, has withdrawn from the case.
Also, counsel to a faction of PDP led by Poroye, Olagoke Fakunle (SAN) washed his hands off the case too.
Recall, last Tuesday, Poroye had written a petition to the President of Appeal Court, National Judicial Council and President Muhammadu Buhari, alleging that the panel constituted by the President of Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, to hear appeals emanating from the governorship primaries of the party in Ondo State, had been induced monetary to sped up the proceedings.
Series of applications were filed by the Makarfi led faction, especially to appeal the judgment of a Federal High Court in Abuja that recognised Sheriff led faction the the authentic PDP in Ondo State.
Commenting on the allegations, Justice Sankey, who was the head of the panel,said the petitioner, Prince Poroye, alleged that the Ondo State Governor Segun Mimiko boasted to have spent N250m on her when she 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.
Dr. Iziyon had expressed surprise at the petition and said he was never consulted or carried along in writing the petition by his client.
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”, Iziyon had vowed.
In standing down from the case, Sankey had 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.
“As far the petition did 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.
However, when the case came up Friday, under another panel headed by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa as Chairman, (and Justices Ignatius Agube and Godwin Mbaba as members), the court was told that another counsel, B. E Nwofor has taken over from Iziyon and Rotimi Oloyede appeared for PDP (Ali Modu-Sheriff led faction) taking the place of Fakunle.
The case of which of the factions is in charge in Ondo State – Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led faction or that of Sheriff- brought proceedings to standstill on Friday.
An application filed by Ahmed Raji of PDP (Makarfi led faction) against Poroye and others, was strongly resisted by Oloyede that PDP had not authorised any counsel to file the application, saying rather he was instructed by the party to file a motion of withdrawal.
The argument went forth and back, without any headway.
Oloyede insisted there was no application by the PDP while Raji shouted himself hoarse trying to move his motion.
At a point, a member of the panel, Justice Ignatius Agube flew into a rage as he fumed: “I don’t care if I am quoted. I raised this alarm in Kwara and Yola sometime ago that PDP must internalise democracy. Look at what is happening here now, washing their dirty linen in the public. At the end of it all, the judiciary bears the brunt.”
The court later adjourned till November 7 for arguments and possible ruling on the matter