Stop Disturbing Courts With Your Problems – Judge Tells PDP

A Justice of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ignatius Agube, who is on the court’s panel sitting on the dispute over the Peoples Democratic Party’s ticket for the forthcoming governorship election in Ondo State, said on Friday that the party’s failure to internalise democracy within its fold over the years was the cause of its problems.

Justice Agube called on PDP to put its house in order and stop troubling the court with its problems.

He said this while reacting to issues generated during the Friday’s proceedings, when two lawyers representing the Ahmed Makarfi and Ali Modu Sheriff factions of the party rose to make conflicting prayers in respect of the appeal filed by the Makarfi camp.

He said, “I have stressed this fact before now. I did so in Kwara and Yobe states, that there is need for the PDP to internalise democracy.

If they [PDP] had resolved their issues internally, they would not be here washing their dirty linen in public. Ordinarily, the court has no business resolving your internal disputes.”

Acting on the orders made by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja on June 29 and October 14, 2016, INEC had dropped Eyitayo Jegede, who is of Makarfi’s faction and replaced him with Jimoh Ibrahim as the PDP’s governorship candidate of the party in the state.

There are now about six pending appeal suits filed by the Makarfi-led faction, and Jegede and others seeking an order compelling INEC to drop Ibrahim and reinstate Jegede as governorship candidate of the party in the state.

During the proceedings, Adedayo Adeyeye and Ben Obi of the Makarfi faction announced that they were representing the PDP; another set of people, including Cairo Ojougboh (Sheriff’s camp) also claimed to be representing the PDP, a development that infuriated Justice Agube.

The panel headed by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa of Calabar division of the Court of Appeal, adjourned all pending applications in the appeals until November 7 for hearing.

The panel adjourned till Monday despite requests by lawyers to the appellants, including Wole Olanipekun (SAN) and Ahmed Raji (SAN) that their preliminary applications be heard promptly in view of the urgency required by the matter.

In the appeal filed by Jegede, his lawyer, Olanipekun, urged the court to promptly consider his client’s application for leave to appeal the decision of the Federal High Court, Abuja on the issue.

He said the matters were election related, which require expeditious hearing.

The respondents’ lawyers, including Beluolisa Nwofor (SAN), said there was no urgency in the cases because they were pre-election matters, which did not require any special panel to be heard.

Nwofor argued that if the court must conduct any further proceedings in the cases, it must first determine the motion on notice, which he filed for his client on November 3, 2016, challenging the jurisdiction of the new panel to sit over the appeals.

In the motion filed for members of state executive of the PDP in the six South West states, including Biyi Poroye, who is the chairman of the Sheriff faction of the party in the state, they asked the court to reverse the decision by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, to constitute the fresh panel.

They also asked the court to disband the panel on the grounds that it was allegedly constituted in breach of their right to fair hearing guaranteed under Section 36 of the Constitution.

Their motion was hinged on, among others, that it was wrong to allow the Court of Appeal to proceed with the appeals when they had valid appeals before the Supreme Court, which challenged the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal.

Political mago-mago!