Ekiti PDP: Appeal court threatens to jail anti-Fayose’s factional leader over false allegations against judges
The justices were: Ahmad Olanrewaju Belgore, Fatima Omoro Akinbami and Ayobode Olujimi Loluko-Sodipe.
Ajayi’s faction, had in a letter dated 19th January , 2017 and signed by the Publicity Secretary of the party, Dayo Owolabi, accused the justices of the appeal court of being conscripted into alleged conspiracy by Gboyega Oguntuase’s group to arrest the January 24 judgment of the Federal High Court sitting in Ado Ekiti.
The Federal High court , had earlier slated the judgment on who was the authentic chairman of the party between Oguntuse(respondent), an ally of Governor Ayodele Fayose and Ajayi(applicant), Senator Buruji Kashamu’s protégé for that date, but counsel to Oguntuase’s faction, Bimpe Olatemiju notified the court about a motion on notice which asked for a stale of proceeding by the lower court pending the determination of the case at the Appeal court on February 1.
He predicated his action on a motion on notice pending before the appeal court, praying for the expunction of the December 13, 2016 proceeding of the court.
However, Justice Taiwo Taiwo went ahead to deliver the judgment in favour of the applicant based on the argument canvassed by lawyer to Ajayi’s faction, Mr Niran Owoseeni.
The judge also alleged that Olatemiju’s notice on the motion on notice amounts to attempt to arrest his judgment.
At yesterday’s proceeding, which was centred on the hearing on the stay of execution of the judgment of the Federal High Court filed by the counsel to the appellant (Oguntuase), Chief Mike Ozekhome(SAN), the justices
confronted Owoseeni with a copy of the letter allegedly written by his client and submitted to the Registrar of the Appeal Court and another publication on a national daily made prior to the ruling by Justice Taiwo which had also accused the appellant and the Appeal Court justices of attempt to arrest Justice Taiwo’s judgment .
The justices also instructed Owoseeni to read to the audience.
The Justices said: “Are you saying you were not aware of the contents of this letter? We have our own names to protect. We could not have been party to any attempt to arrest the judgment of the High court.
“We didn’t sit on the 19th of January because one of us was indisposed and we didn’t form quorum to sit. Judiciary must not be destroyed , because if such happens the next stage is anarchy”.
Based on the information from Owoseeni that the author of the letter has traveled to Abuja , the appeal court justices adjourned the case to February 8, and instructed that the writer of the letter report on the adjourned date or face arrest warrant : “Ask him to come back or else, he will be arrested. We will issue bench warrant against him”, they said.
Owoseni refuted allegation from lawyers to the appellant that he had a pre-knowledge of the contents of the letter , saying : “I can’t be part of any conspiracy or connivance to destroy the judiciary. I am a lawyer, I don’t know how politicians operate. If they had told me, I would have advised against it.
“I am only seeing the letter for the first time. What I prepared for today is my notice of preliminary objection against the appeal”, he said.
Reacting to the development, lead counsel to the appellant, Ozekhome warned against the subjugation of the judiciary in the country, saying such could only brew anarchy and return the country to a pariah state.
“This is what politicians do when they see that a matter is not going their own way. What they do is to accuse the judges or justices of bias and corruption, so that they can hands off. It happened to appeal court justices in Abuja, where they stupidly, idiotically accused them of corruption.
“Nigeria is operating a constitutional democracy, where matters are subjected to adjudication. I didn’t know how a stay of proceeding filed at the appeal would amount to arrest of judgement.
“Even in spite of that, the federal High Court still delivered the judgement without respect for court’s hierarchical order, this is condemnable”, he stated.
The Justices adjourned the matter to February 8 for the author(s) to appear in court.