The Court of Appeal, Ibadan Division will today, Tuesday, December 18, deliver judgment on who the authentic governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun state is. Sen. Buruji Kashamu and Hon. Oladipupo Adebutu are laying claims to the ticket.
Recall that after Adebutu had emerged as governorship candidate, Justice Abubakar Shittu of Federal High Court Ogun State, in October, gave a judgment directing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to accept a list of candidates from the Adebayo Dayo-led faction of the party which had Kashamu, senator representing Ogun East District, as governorship candidate.
The PDP through its counsel, Emeka Etiaba SAN, then approached the appellate court in Ibadan, seeking an order to set aside the judgment on the grounds of non-service on the PDP, the process upon which the orders were based, lack of fair hearing, Supreme Court judgment on PDP leadership tussle, among others.
But while waiting for decision of the Appeal Court, both candidates have been laying claims to the ticket.
At the hearing of the appeal on Monday before a three-man panel, Etiaba argued that PDP was not served the processes upon which the orders were predicated and was consequently not given fair hearing in the matter brought before Justice Shittu by the Dayo-led faction.
On the issue of leadership tussle in the party, Etiaba argued that the Supreme Court had laid the issue to rest.
The issue of bias against Justice Shittu included in the brief of appeal by the appellants’ counsel as one of the grounds of appeal, resulting from the lack of fair hearing ground, was later withdrawn by Etiaba on the advice by one of the three judges that heard the appeal.
However, Counsel to Dayo, Dr Alex Izinyon SAN, asked the appellate court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit.
He argued that court bailiff approached the office of the PDP National Secretary from where he was directed to the Legal Department of the party for service of the court processes.
Izinyon said the bailiff, as stated in his affidavit filed before the court, met some lawyers at the Legal Department who refused to accept service of the processes claiming there was a holiday.
The PDP lawyer, however, counter-argued that the law is that an officer of the party not lower than the rank of a secretary must be served such processes, an argument Izinyon said should have been filed in an affidavit to controvert the bailiff’s claim.
After listening to both counsel, the presiding Judge, Justice J.A Bada asked the parties to address the court on whether the matter was a pre-election case or not based on the provisions of Section 285 Subsection 14 a-c of the Fourth Alteration to the 1999 Constitution.
In response, PDP counsel, Etiaba, said it was not a pre-election matter as it did not fall within the category of cases classified as such.
But Izinyon, the lead counsel for the respondents, said it was a pre-election matter and so remained statute barred, calling on the court to strike out certain paragraphs in the appellants’ brief.
Justice Bada will deliver judgement by 3pm today, Tuesday.