Court Adjourns PDP Leadership Suit Indefinitely

Justice Ademola’s Trial Stalled In AbujaThe Court of Appeal in Abuja has adjourned indefinitely the hearing into the leadership crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

A three-man panel of justices led by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, suspended hearing on the matter to await the outcome of a related case pending before another court in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital.

The decision followed a motion filed by the Ali Modu sheriff faction of the party.

The group’s counsel, Akin Olujinmi, asked the court not to attend to the suit filed by the senator Ahmed Markafi-led faction.

The defense counsel’s argument was based on the fact that the Port Harcourt division of the court has already reserved judgement on the matter.

In that suit, the appellants are challenging a verdict that Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja delivered on June 30, which recognized Sheriff as national chairman of the party.

Court Adjourns PDP Leadership Suit Indefinitely

Court Adjourns PDP Leadership Suit IndefinitelyThe Court of Appeal in Abuja has adjourned indefinitely the hearing into the leadership crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

A three-man panel of justices led by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa suspended hearing on the matter to await the outcome of a related case pending before another court in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital.

The decision followed a motion filed by the Ali Modu Sheriff faction of the party.

The group’s counsel, Akin Olujinmi, asked the court not to attend to the suit filed by the Senator Ahmed Markafi-led faction.

The defence counsel’s argument was based on the fact that the Port Harcourt division of the court has already reserved judgement on the matter.

In that suit, the appellants are challenging a verdict that Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja delivered on June 30, which recognised Sheriff as national chairman of the party.

Supreme Court Dismisses Second Appeal Filed By Sheriff-Led PDP

Supreme Court Dismisses Second Appeal Filed By Sheriff-Led PDPA five-member panel of justices of the Supreme Court has dismissed an application filed by the Modu-Sheriff led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) asking it to evoke its disciplinary powers and disqualify the panel of the Appeal Court hearing the Ondo state PDP candidacy appeal.

In the application, counsel to the Sheriff-led PDP, Mr Beluolisa Nwufor, asked the court to set aside the November 16, 2016 proceedings of the Court of Appeal for being a nullity.

He argued further that the appellate court ought to have stayed proceedings on the matter, having been notified of an appeal against its decision at the Supreme Court.

Nwofor also prayed the court to disqualify the Appeal Court panel for holding parallel proceedings with the Supreme Court.

However, when it was pointed out to him that the said appeal is predicated on an earlier appeal which he requested to be withdrawn and which was subsequently dismissed, he insisted that the lower court judges erred.

In reaction to the application, counsel to the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led PDP, Mr Wole Olanipekun pointed that by virtues of the fact that he withdrew his applications earlier the appeal has become an academic exercise which the court ought not to entertain.

He therefore asked the court to dismiss the application.

In the lead ruling, the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onoghene, said that it was very clear that the dismissal of the motions for stay in which the orders in this motions were predicated had rendered the prayers one to three, sought by the Sheriff-led PDP academic.

He also added that it was on record that the justices who were empaneled to hear the motion emanating from the lower court were not doing so in their personal capacity and as such, joining them as party is an attempt to embarrass and scandalized the court and this should not be discouraged.

He went on to add that, if applicants are allowed to continue with the pranks in this circumstance there will be no end to litigation.

“I find no merit in this application and consequently dismiss the motion and order cost of 500,000 naira to the counsel to the first three respondents  and one million naira each to each of the three judges to be paid by counsel to Sheriff, Mr Beluolisa Nwofor personally to each of the judges.”

The Supreme Court has also given the Court of Appeal the nod to resume hearing of all appeals relating to the PDP governorship candidacy tussle in Ondo state.

This followed the withdrawal of 10 motions filed for stay of proceeding by the Ali-modu Sheriff faction which led to a stay of proceeding at the appellate court.

The Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria who presided over the proceedings, Justice Walter Onoghene, dismissed the motion and awarded a cost of 250,000 naira against those who filed them.

Justice Onoghene ordered the Appeal Court to resume hearing because the case is a pre-election matter.

Supreme Court Tells Appeal Court To Continue Hearing On Ondo PDP Crisis

Supreme Court Tells Appeal Court To Continue Hearing On Ondo Election MatterThe Supreme Court has given the Court of Appeal the nod to resume hearing of all appeals relating to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidacy tussle in Ondo state.

This followed the withdrawal of 10 motions filed for stay of proceeding by the Ali-modu Sheriff faction which led to a stay of proceeding at the appellate court.

The Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria who presided over the proceedings, Justice Walter Onoghene, dismissed the motion and awarded a cost of 250,000 naira against those who filed them.

Justice Onoghene ordered the Appeal Court to resume hearing because the case is a pre-election matter.

Counsel to the Sheriff-led PDP, Mr Beluolisa Nwofor, who earlier served the lower court the motions asked the Supreme Court to strike out the motion but the Supreme Court instead dismissed it.

The Appeal Court had adjourned indefinitely its judgment on the matter involving Mr Eyitayo Jegede’s appeal to reclaim the candidacy of the PDP in the November 26 governorship election.

This was after INEC replaced his name with that of Jimoh Ibrahim of the Modu-Sheriff faction as the party’s candidate in the election.

The judgment slated for delivery was put off by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa following a motion filed at the Supreme Court by the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff led-faction of the PDP asking the Appeal Court panel to hands off the matter.

The Court of Appeal had fixed Friday, November 18, 2016 to deliver judgment in respect of an appeal filed by Eyitayo Jegede against the decision of Justice Okon Abang of the  Federal High Court Abuja, which ordered the substitution of his name with that of Jimoh Ibrahim for the governorship election.

INEC To Go On With Ondo Governorship Election

INEC To Go On With Ondo Governorship ElectionThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says there is no going back on the date for the Ondo state governorship election that has been scheduled for November 26, 2016.

The INEC’s Director for Elections Monitoring, Mr Bala Shittu, gave the assurance at a conference with elections observer groups in Abuja.

According to him, INEC is ready for the conduct of the elections as scheduled even though it has one final stakeholders meeting in Akure, the Ondo state capital on Tuesday, Nov 22.

He also stated that the electoral body has done risk assessment for the state and has related its finding to security agents for proper security during the polls.

Indefinite Adjournment

The possibility of the election holding became bleak on Friday after the Court of Appeal adjourned judgment in the PDP governorship candidacy tussle indefinitely.

The Court had fixed Friday, November 18, 2016 to deliver judgment in respect of an appeal filed by Eyitayo Jegede against the decision of Justice Okon Abang of the  Federal High Court Abuja.

The judgment was put off by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa following a motion filed at the Supreme Court by the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff led-faction of the PDP asking the Appeal Court panel to hands off the matter.

In the motion, factional chairman of the party in Ondo state, Prince Biyi Boroye, accused the three-man panel of bias and prayed the Supreme Court to restrain the judges from further proceedings in the appeals.

The motion served in the panel about 7:30PM on Thursday night alleged that the three judges had betrayed their oath of office with the way the appeals were been handled and that they have refused to be bound by their own earlier orders.

PDP Crisis

INEC has been at the centre of the PDP crisis since its decision to recognise a factional candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the election, Mr Jimoh Ibrahim.

The agency based its decision on the ruling of a Federal High Court in Abuja which recognised the Ali Modu-Sheriff faction of the party as the authentic one.

Justice Abang ordered INEC to recognise Mr Ibrahim as the PDP flag bearer for the election instead of Eyitayo Jegede of the Ahmed Makarfi group who was initially seen as the PDP candidate.

The court ordered to reinforce a verdict it earlier gave on June 29, which recognised the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff faction of the PDP and directed INEC to only deal with the faction instead of the Markafi group.

Since the release of INEC’s list of recognised candidates for the election, the Makarfi group, to which the Ondo state Governor, Olusegun Mimiko belongs, has been battling to have the ruling and the consequent INEC decision overruled.

The Jegede supporters have insisted that their man remained the authentic PDP candidate in Ondo, having emerged from a well attended and INEC-recognised primary election.

They vowed to explore all legal means to reclaim the mandate and present Eyitayo Jegede as the party’s candidate in the election.

A special panel of the Court of Appeal approved Mr Eyitayo Jegede’s request to appeal the judgement of the court that led to the substitution of his name with that of Mr Jimoh Ibrahim.

The panel, led by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, said Mr Jegede had shown sufficient proof that the judgment of Justice Okon Abang recognising Senator Ali Modu Sherrif as the National Chairman of the PDP had grossly affected his rights.

The panel also dismissed an application filed by the factional chairman of the party in Ondo State, Mr Biyi Poroye, who is asking the new panel to recuse, on the ground of gross abuse of court process.

While dismissing the appeal, Justice Saulawa said that the application by Mr Poroye was borne out of mischief and deliberate calculation to frustrate the application for the leave of the court to appeal the Federal High Court’s judgment filed by Mr Jegede.

The Modu-Sheriff group reacted with accusations of bias against the Appeal Court panel and this led to the panel withdrawing from the case.

Ondo PDP Candidacy: Jegede Calls For Calm Over Appeal Court Adjournment

Ondo PDP, Eyitayo Jegede, Ahmed Makarfi
Mr Eyitayo Jegede (SAN)

Mr Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called for calm among his supporters following the decision of the Appeal Court to adjourn indefinitely its judgment on his appeal to reclaim the candidacy of the party in the November 26 governorship election.

The judgment slated for delivery was put off by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa following a motion filed at the Supreme Court by the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff led-faction of the PDP asking the Appeal Court panel to hands off the matter.

The Court of Appeal had fixed Friday, November 18, 2016 to deliver judgment in respect of an appeal filed by Eyitayo Jegede against the decision of Justice Okon Abang of the  Federal High Court Abuja, which ordered the substitution of his name with that of Jimoh Ibrahim for the governorship election.

Jegede, in a statement by the Head of Media and Publicity of his Campaign Organization, Kayode Fasua, said that he was not unmindful of the fact that the temporary setback is the handiwork of some anti-democratic elements hell bent on truncating his mandate for the November 26 polls.

He, however, said as a true believer in the rule of law and judiciary, he would be at the Supreme Court on Tuesday to thrash out issues raised by the appellants.

He said “the objective of the appellants is to stop a review of Abang’s contrived judgment through various baseless petitions, spurious blackmail and media propaganda”, adding that the day of reckoning is near for these anti-democratic elements.

Jegede appealed to his supporters and believers in his course that despite the hurt they feel, they should not take laws into their hands but remain resolute and intensify their door-to-door campaigns, restating that he will contest and win the upcoming poll.

“I call on our supporters to remain calm, and not be weighed down by the latest developments which I believe should only strengthen our resolve in ensuring that despite all contrivances and manipulations, we will contest and win the November 26 2016 governorship election.” he said

He added that his team of lawyers are working assiduously to ensure that the latest attempt to subvert his mandate, through several devious means of propaganda, blackmail and unprecedented assault against the judiciary is corrected using available legal means

“For us, there is no looking back. We remain resolute and focused in our desire to bring development, progress and prosperity to our people, this is our Article of Faith and with God, we will triumph,” he assured.

Jegede also promised to address a world press conference at the appropriate time.

 

Ondo PDP Crisis: Appeal Court Adjourns Judgment Indefinitely

Appeal Court Adjourns Judgment On Ondo PDP CrisisThe Court of Appeal has adjourned judgment in the Ondo PDP governorship candidacy tussle indefinitely.

The judgment slated for delivery was put off by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa following a motion filed at the Supreme Court by the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff led-faction of the PDP asking the Appeal Court panel to hands off the matter.

In the motion, factional chairman of the party in Ondo state, Prince Biyi Boroye, accused the three-man panel of bias and prayed the Supreme Court to restrain the judges from further proceedings in the appeals.

The motion served in the panel about 7:30PM on Thursday night alleged that the three judges had betrayed their oath of office with the way the appeals were been handled and that they have refused to be bound by their own earlier orders.

The three judges; Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, Ignatius Igwe-Agube and George Mbaba were joined as parties in the suit.

Justice Saulawa who announced the receipt of the motion described the move as politically motivated and diabolical.

He added that the panel was put in place on a rescue mission when the Justice Jummai Sänkey-led panel threw in the towel following accusations of bias and bribery.

The case he says will stand adjourned pending the decision of the apex court.

Ondo PDP Crisis: Court Reserves Judgement In Jegede’s Appeal

Ondo PDP, Eyitayo Jegede, Ahmed Makarfi
Mr Eyitayo Jegede

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has reserved judgment in an appeal filed by Eyitayo Jegede, challenging the judgment of the lower court that recognised Jimoh Ibrahim as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the November 26 governorship election in Ondo State.

Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja had ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognise Mr Ibrahim as the candidate of the PDP for the election.

The court’s order was adhered to by the electoral body which added Mr Jegede’s name as the candidate of the PDP to the list of persons vying for the governorship seat.

Mr Jegede in his appeal is asking the appellate court to set aside the decision of the lower court and also order INEC to restore his name as the candidate of the PDP in the polls.

Earlier on, the court struck out the appeal filed by Mr Ibrahim, seeking to be joined in an appeal filed by Mr Jegede of the Ahmed Markarfi-led faction.

Recession, Jimoh Ibrahim, Ondo PDP
INEC-recognised Ondo PDP Governorship Candidate, Jimoh Ibrahim

Mr Ibrahim, who lost his interlocutory application at the Court of Appeal, at the last sitting had his recent application thrown out, when his counsel Jadegoke Badejo, informed the court about his intention to “withdraw himself from the matter”.

Mr Badejo had earlier asked the court for an adjournment, for him to return the case file to his client because he was not interested to be a party in the matter, looking at how rowdy the matter had turned.

The Appeal Court panel led by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa subsequently upheld Badejo’s submission and equally struck out the application.

Ondo PDP Crisis: Court Dismisses Poroye’s Suit, Grants Jegede’s Request

Ondo PDP, Eyitayo Jegede, Ahmed Makarfi
Mr Eyitayo Jegede

A special panel of the Court of Appeal has approved Mr Eyitayo Jegede’s request to appeal the judgement of a court that led to the substitution of his name with that of Mr Jimoh Ibrahim as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the forthcoming Ondo State Governorship election.

The panel is handling appeals emanating from the primary election of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State for which an Abuja High Court had ruled in favour of Mr Jimoh Ibrahim.

After the judgement of the Abuja court the Independent National Electoral Commission inputted Mr Ibarhim’s name as the candidate of the party, a decision that had triggered protests in the state.

Gross Abuse Of Court Process

However, in a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa on Thursday, the panel said Mr Jegede had shown sufficient proof that the judgment of Justice Okon Abang recognising Senator Ali Modu Sherrif as the National Chairman of the PDP had grossly affected his rights.

The panel also dismissed an application filed by the factional chairman of the party in Ondo State, Mr Biyi Poroye, who is asking the new panel to recuse, on the ground of gross abuse of court process.

While dismissing the appeal, Justice Saulawa said that the application by Mr Poroye was borne out of mischief and deliberate calculation to frustrate the application for the leave of the court to appeal the Federal High Court’s judgment filed by Mr Jegede.

A lawyer to Mr Jegede, Mr Ifedayo Adedipe, applauded the judgment of the court, saying the coast has been cleared for his client to exercise his constitutional right.

“The Court of Appeal saw through the sill of deceit and cynical manipulation of the judicial process that the other side has engaged in.

“We have been granted leave now to appeal and we have filed our processes. We are hopeful that our appeal will be heard very shortly,” he said.

After the judgement, the lawyer representing Prince Poroye, Mr Benuolisa Nwofor, announced plan to challenge the judgment of the court at the Supreme Court.

“For the first to ninth respondents who are my clients, they have a constitutional right to appeal the ruling of the court and we are going to obtain a copy of the ruling and exercise our constitutional right of appeal to the Supreme Court of Nigeria because the weighty issues of law were raised and have not been resolved to our satisfaction.

“We are going to give the apex court the opportunity to have a look at the decision,” he told reporters.

Ibori Has Case To Answer, Nigerian Court Says

Six years after Justice Marcel Awokulehin struck out 170-count charge of money laundering preferred against former governor of Delta State, James Onanefe Ibori by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), a three-man panel of justices at the Benin Division of the Court of Appeal ruled that the ex- governor has a case to answer.

The unanimous decision was delivered by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa and James O. Iboriwas supported by Justices P. M Ekpe and H. A Barka.

The EFCC had approached the appellate court to set aside the judgment on the grounds that the court erred in law.

The appeal was predicated on four grounds-one, that the trial judge looked at the proof of evidence and evaluated same as if the prosecution had called all its witnesses and trial has been concluded.

Secondly, that the procedure is by way of summary trial and not trial by indictment or information.

That the proof of evidence clearly shows a prima facie case has been disclosed against the accused/ respondent and that His Lordship erred when he held that no case was disclosed against the accused/ respondent.

Fourthly, that the judgment is unwarranted, unreasonable and against the weight of proof of evidence filed by the prosecution in support of the charges.

Holding that the appeal was meritorious, Justice Salauwa resolved all the four issues for determination in favour of the EFCC and directed that the matter be re-assigned to another judge of the Federal High Court for continuation of trial.

With this judgment, Ibori will be facing trial in Nigeria upon the completion of his 13 year jail term in London.

Judge Withdraws From Al-Mustapha’s Appeal

Justice Ibrahim Saulawa of the Court of Appeal, Lagos, has withdrawn from the three-man panel and declined hearing an appeal filed by Major Hamza Al-Mustapha and Lateef Shofolahan, challenging a death sentence against them.

A High Court had sentences Al-Mustapha to death by hanging

The matter, which was scheduled on Thursday for arguments by parties, could not continue as the presiding Judge declined hearing for personal reasons.

Justice Saulawa told the appellants’ counsel that he could only assist them in recording a further date for arguments, but will not participate in hearing the main appeal.

He therefore adjourned the case to June 10 for hearing.

Al-Mustapha, a former Chief Security Officer to late Sanni Abacha, and Mr Shofolahan, former personal assistant to Kudirat Abiola, are challenging their death sentence by a Lagos High Court.

The convicts were sentenced to death on January 30, 2012 by Justice Mojisola Dada, for conspiracy in masterminding the murder of late Kudirat.