Federal High Court
The Court of Appeal in Lagos has adjourned indefinitely proceedings in an appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), its Chairman, Bamanga Tukur, the suspended National Secretary, Olagunsoye Oyinlola and National Auditor, Bode Mustapha.
They are, by the appeal, challenging the May 2, 2012 judgment by Justice Charles Archibong of the Federal High Court, Lagos declaring the Chief Adebayo Dayo-led Executive Committee of the party in Ogun State as the authentic management body of the party in the state.
The judgment, aside upholding the constitution of Adebayo Dayo executive, ordered the party national leadership to accord them all the necessary materials and supports needed to enable them perform their responsibilities until the expiration of their tenure.
When the appeal came up yesterday, the appellate court adjourned indefinitely upon being served with a copy of the petition written to the Acting President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa by the Chief Dayo-led Ogun PDP, alleging possible bias on the part of the panel headed by Justice Amina Augie.
The petitioners had alleged that the former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, purportedly promised to exploit the influence of his lawyer, Chief Afe Babalola to ensure that his faction of the Ogun PDP wins at the appeal.
The petitioners also referred to a purported meeting between Babalola and Justice Augie.
Reading the petition to an open court yesterday, a furious Justice Augie denied any relationship between her and either of Babalola and Obasanjo.
She denied all the allegations made against them in the petition.
“I do not know Afe babalola. I have no dealing with him. I do not know Obasanjo. I have no dealings with him,” Justice Augie said.
She stated that the petition was intended to deliberately rubbish the reputation of the justices handling the case.
Justice Augie equally came down heavily on the lawyer to the respondents, Ajibola Oluyede for allegedly failing to restrain his clients.
She threatened to place Oluyede on the court’s black book and prevent him from further appearing before the court in other cases.
Justice Augie later withdraw the threat when Oluyede apologised.
She urged lawyers to realise that a dent on the court’s image affects them too, because the court is where they ply their trade.
She said the petition was not only challenging the integrity of the court, but also the competence of the petitioner’s lawyer.
She said by petitioning the court’s highest authority and querying the integrity of the justices handling their case, Oluyede’s clients were also not confident on his ability to handle their case without interference.
Justice Augie later directed that the case be called, following which the appellant’s lawyer, Kunle Kalejaiye (SAN) condemned the petition, saying “this is a new style that ought to be condemned.
Oluyedede denied being party to the petition.
He said the dimension taken by the case and parties must have been informed by its nature, being a political case.
Justice Augie, in a ruling, held that the court will adjourn indefinitely to await the outcome of Justice Bulkachuwa’s decision on the petition.
Named as respondents in the appeal are plaintiffs in the original suit - Chief Adebayo Dayo and Alhaji Semiu Sodipo (for themselves and on behalf of the Ogun State Executive Committee of the PDP).