A cobweb of legal gymnastics in the governorship tussle by factions of the Ondo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] yesterday, forced the special panel of the Court of Appeal set up to hear appeals emanating from the festering crisis to adjourned its scheduled judgment indefinitely [sine dine].
The Justice Ibrahim Salauwa-led three-man panel was billed to deliver judgment on the appeal filed by a governorship candidate from the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the party, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede, but was stopped by a motion filed at the Supreme Court by the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff faction, spearheaded by Prince Biyi Poroye.
Appeals by Makarfi and Jegede are challenging the orders made by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja on June 29 and October 14, 2016, which INEC acted on, by removing Jegede’s name from the list of governorship candidates, and replaced him with Ibrahim as the party’s standard bearer in the forthcoming election in the state.
But dissatisfied with the hearing of appeals by the Saulawa panel despite their pending interlocutory appeals before the Supreme Court, Poroye and others had filed the motion before the apex court.
The motion, which attacked the integrity of the panel further, prayed the apex court to order them to hands off further proceedings with the hearing of the appeals.
This is the second panel of the Court of Appeal that allegations of bias would be raised against by prince Poroye. The first panel led by Justice Jummai Sankey threw in the towel following bribery allegations against its members.
In the motion before the Supreme Court, the three-man panel was accused of bias and abuse of oath of office and flagrant and blatant breach of judicial precedents including the principle of lis pendis and respect for the hierarchy of the Supreme Court.
Other members of the Justice Salauwa panel are Ignatus Agube and George Mbaba
The motion, which joined members of the panel as 6th and 7th respondents, also asked for an order of the Supreme Court disqualifying the panel from further sitting on the appeals on the grounds that they have betrayed their oath of office.
In the motion filed before the Supreme Court, Sheriff’s faction is praying for an order invoking disciplinary jurisdiction of the court to set aside the proceedings of November 16, 2016 in of the special panel sitting in Abuja division of the Court of Appeal.
The appellant also pray for an order restraining and forbidding further proceedings in the lower court by the panel of the Court of Appeal pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice and notice for stay of proceedings pending at the Supreme Court on ground that such further proceedings would be in flagrant and blatant breach of the doctrine of lis pendis, stare decisis and violation of the required regard for the Supreme Court.