Counsel to Williams Ajayi’s faction of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in Ekiti State, Mr. Niran Owoseeni, on Wednesday withdrew from handling the ongoing case of the group before the Court of Appeal sitting in Ado Ekiti.
This followed the claims of corruption and bias written against the appeal panel, headed by justice Olanrewaju Belgore.
Owoseeni described the letter, purportedly written by the Ajayi’s faction Publicity Secretary , Dayo Owolabi, a threat to his career and that he would never be a party to any attempt to rubbish the temple of justice.
The Lawyer who spoke when the matter came up for hearing at the court on Wednesday said it was part of the reasons why he could not produce Owolabi who is one of the executive members that had been validated by the verdict of the Federal High Court sitting in Ado Ekiti, in court despite the court’s directive.
Justice Belgore , had on Monday ordered Owolabi to appear before the court and explain the reason behind the statement dated January 20, 2017, which was submitted at the office of the Appeal Court’s Registrar , accusing the justices of bias over their failure to conduct the sitting on January 19, 2017, which centred on whether the judgement of January 24 at the Federal High Court should be held or suspended .
The High Court’s judgement delivered by Justice Taiwo Taiwo basically centred on which faction is authentic between Ajayi and Barr. Gboyega Oguntuase-led groups .
Owoseeni said: “I have decided to step aside because I can’t be part of any attempt to malign your lordships. I won’t conduct myself in a way that will put judiciary in discomfort. I urge your lordships to allow me to step aside for another lawyer to take up this matter.
“But with all sense of responsibility, I delivered your message to them that you asked them to appear in court today. But I want to believe that the publicity the matter attracted must have scared them.”, he said.
He prayed the court to adjourn the case, pointing out that he was served with two counter affidavits by the appellant (Oguntuase) on Tuesday , which he needed time to respond to.
Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) , who is the counsel to the appellant, appealed to
the justices to overlook the matter saying, “the statement against your lordships was very scary, opprobrious and odious to say the least.
“Judiciary is the third arm of government that gives nerves and valves to democracy. I have practiced law for 36 years and I feel sorry for
this country about how your lordships are being insulted. Please, just
take it easy with them”.
Ozekhome who contended that it could have been better if the author of the letter had appeared to clear his name said the adjournment being sought by the respondent was needless but he would have to request for cost under this circumstance.
The presiding justice Belgore, said “we are not trying him for writing against us or sending him to prisons, but it could have been better for him to come so that we can tell him the gravity of his ofence”.
Justice Belgore, in his brief ruling awarded N100,000 cost against the respondent to cover the cost of transportation for the appellant’s legal team.
Justice Belgore also adjourn the case to March 20, 2017 .