It was a long day of arguments and counter arguments at the Appeal Court Panel specially constituted to hear and give rulings on the Ondo PDP gubernatorial candidature.
The sitting began with an application by Ben Nwofor, counsel to the self-acclaimed Chairman of the PDP in Ondo State, Biyi Poroye, challenging the jurisdiction of the special panel and asking for its immediate disbandment.
On the motion by Eyitayo Jegede SAN seeking leave to appeal Justice Okon Abang’s ruling of October 14 which ordered the substitution of his name by INEC as PDP candidate for this month’s election, Biyi Poroye’s lawyer, Ben Nwofor SAN said the appeal was belated and did not identify suit title and parties for which the ruling was delivered. But Olanipekun SAN, who led two other SANs, Ife Adedipe and Dayo Akinlaja and 18 other lawyers to appear for Jegede, in his arguments said the Appeal court President’s action is an administrative decision adding that the special panel cannot give credit to Poroye’s application let alone treat it.
He added that based on section 318 of the 1999 constitution, the decision of the Appeal Court President to set up the panel can’t be appealed against or set aside. Olanipekun further said the appeal was filed within time and prayed the court to allow Jegede appeal Justice Abang’s judgment in view of it’s urgency which affects his interest and Fundamental Human Rights. Other applications heard by the special panel include Ahmed Markarfi versus Biyi Poroye, PDP versus Biyi Poroye, and Clement Faboyede versus Biyi Poroye. Speaking to newsmen after the sitting, Wole Olanipekun SAN commended the Appeal Court Justices for their thoroughness.
Justice Salauwa has however reserved ruling in almost all the applications that bothers on the panel’s jurisdiction, Jegede’s leave to appeal, Ahmed markarfi versus Poroye among others, just as hearing continues today. Sheriff’s lawyer escapes contempt Meanwhile, Godswill Mrakpkor, Counsel to the Ali Modu Sheriff led faction of the PDP narrowly escaped being charged for contempt after shouting on the 3-man panel for several minutes while trying to get a stand down for an application to be presented by Ben Nwofor SAN, counsel to Poroye. Nwofor had barely taken the floor to present his application when Mrakpkor charged from his seat behind saying his senior colleague cannot continue with his motion until he (Mrakpkor) has filed some processes at the court registry.
He said this would mean that the court will give Nwofor another time to make his application which was to bother on the three man panel’s jurisdiction to hear the cases before them. Justice Ibrahim Salauwa however scolded Mrakpkor and asked him to have his seat as his argument was baseless. A visibly furious Mrakpkor went haywire, ranted and shouting down the Justices, therefore insisting he must be heard at all cost.
Justice Salauwa who expressed displeasure over the attitude of the young lawyer, described Mrakpkor’s action as a “grave arrogance, insult and contempt to the Court.” It however took the intervention of other senior counsels to pacify the Justices from taking a drastic action against Mrakpkor.