*Decisions ‘ll be determined by NJC’s panel
BY GBENGA ARIYIBI
ADO-EKITI-The Court of Appeal sitting in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital has adjourned indefinitely the case instituted by the former governor of the state, Mr. Segun Oni, asking the court to review the October 15, 2010 judgement on Ekiti State governorship election.
The appellate court declared that its decision on the matter would be determined by the reports of the panel set up by the National Judicial Council, NJC, to investigate allegations of unethical practices made against the President of Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami and four others.
Oni had filed an appeal at the new Court of Appeal, Ado-Ekiti seeking an order to set aside the judgement of the Justice Salami-led Election Appeal Tribunal, and a retrial of the case, contending that; “the judgement was a nullity having been predetermined and delivered through a panel which has close affinity with 1st and 2nd respondents.
The former governor, had attached copies of his petition to the National Judicial Council, NJC, to the affidavit and the affidavit of Senator Umaru Dahiru and Mahmud Yahaya stated that it was uncontroverted that Justice Ayo Salami had been a friend of Tinubu and that he (Tinubu) “has unfettered access to influence the President of the Court of Appeal who presided over the Ekiti Tribunal” thus denying him of fair hearing.
The Court, therefore adjourned the case indefinitely, pending the outcome of the NJC panel headed by the former President of Court of Appeal, Justice Umaru Abdullahi. The appeal panellists include Justices Stanley Senko Alagoa, Nwale Sylvester Ngwuta, Tijani Abdulai, Uwani Abba Aji and Raphael Chikwe Agbo.
When the matter came up for hearing yesterday, lead counsel to the plaintiff and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Ladi Rotimi Williams, SAN, moved the motion for the setting aside of the October 15, 2010 judgment and reconstitution of a new panel to hear the matter de novo.
While the lead counsel to the respondents, Chief Anthony Adeniyi reacted to the application intimating the court that the respondents had filed preliminary objections and counter affidavits. He said they were prepared to go on with the case.
Williams, however, urged the court to order the counsel to present written addresses on the matter, to which the presiding justice asked; “Does our rules support that?”
Oni’s counsel replied that; “Your Lordships have the discretionary powers. Justice Agbo, however, asked from Chief Williams that; “Don’t you think as the NJC is looking into this matter, going by the affidavit in support of your prayers, we should wait for the NJC report?”
Williams responded, saying; “NJC is an administrative organ” and the presiding Justice replied; “Don’t you think this should wait? Even if we use our discretionary power, don’t you think this will take some time during which the NJC may have submitted its report?”