By Jimitota Onoyume
PORT HARCOURT â€”Â THE case filed by the candidate of Accord Party in the 14 April 2007 governor-ship election in Rivers State, Chief Bekinbo Alalibo Soberekon, suffered another set back yesterday, as the Appeal Court in Port Harcourt adjourned the matter to 25 JanuaryÂ 2010.
According to Justice Jeja,Â the adjournment followed the request of the counsel to Chief Soberekon, Mr Femi Falana, who was represented by Miss Mary Obe, that the court should schedule another date for the case due to his inability to attend.
The court, which had all the five justices present, gave the counsels 14 days to submit their written addresses while the party sought to be joined was given seven days to do same.
Mr Kanu Agabi, Counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Mr Lateef Fagbemi, counsel to Mr Chibuke Amaechi and Mr J. B. Dawodu, counsel to the party seeking to be joined, did not, however, oppose the application for adjournment by Miss Obe.
Agabi was quick to urge the court to note that the same matter was struck out at the tribunal for lack of diligence in prosecution
In the case between Mr Ashley Emenike Anyadike and another Vs Celestine Omehia and others, counsels to the parties adopted their written addresses submitted to the court.
However, counsel to Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Mr Lateef Fagbami, who did not submit any written address, aligned himself with the argument of Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN) that the appellant filed the motion for substitution out of time, and urged the court to dismiss the appellantâ€™s application.
Fagbemi, who is the counsel to the party, sought to be substituted and urged the court to dismiss the application brought before it by the lead counsel to the Labour Party, Mr Idaye Opi, particularly on points of law, as it would amount to wasting the courtâ€™s time.
According to Mr Fagbemi and Chief Oluyimi, the Court of Appeal reserves the right to dismiss the motion on grounds that the application was predicated on the competence of the court not to allow such motion since the 30 days allowed by law after declaration of result had elapsed before the application was submitted.
A.Â Akpomuje, counsel to INEC, did not also file any counter affidavit on the issue, but argued that the reason for pursuing the appeal on for substitution had been overtaken by events since the Supreme Court has answered the question of who was the actual candidate of the PDP in the 2007 governorship election.
The lead Judge, Justice Jeja, after listening to the submissions, also adjourned the matter to a date to be communicated to the parties in due course for ruling on the application for substitution.