APPEAL COURT OKAYS AKALA FOR APRIL POLLS
It appears the coast is clear for Governor Adebayo Alao Akala of Oyo State to contest the forthcoming governorship election in the state as the Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan, yesterday struck out the application instituted by the opposition seeking to stop Akala from contesting the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
The three-member panel of the Court, comprising Justices Modupe Fasanmi, Joseph Ikyeg and Stanley Alagoa in a unanimous ruling delivered by Justice Stanley Alagoa affirmed that the applicants application could not succeed.
Former Power and Steel minister, Elder Wole Oyelese, former deputy governor of the state, Alhaji Hazeem Gbolarunmi who are both governorship aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state as well as 38 others had filed a suit at the Court of Appeal, asking the court to nullify both the party congresses and primaries that produced Governor Akala as the party standard bearer for the April poll.
They also wanted the court to stop the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from enlisting Governor Akala as the candidate of the PDP in the state.
While the case was still on, an order earlier given by Justice Jonathan Shakarho of the Federal High Court in Ibadan restraining INEC was vacated, a situation which made the appellant to allege the judge of collecting N50 million to give a pervasive ruling, hence they appeal the suit.
However, rather than waiting for sixty days for the lower court to compile its record and send to the appellant court, the counsel to the applicant, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) compiled the record and asked the court to depart from its rule to be able to entertain the suit .
Delivering the lead ruling yesterday, Justice Modupe Fasanmi stated that the two suits against the governor lacked merit stressing , ' the applications are premature, lacks merit and thereby struck out'.
Justice Fasanmi said the first leg of the suit that was seeking that Akala's name be removed as the PDP candidate, 'suffered incurable defect'.
She stressed that the suit could not succeed because notice of appeal which is the foundation of appeal was not included in the process before the court adding that filing did not follow a due process.
On the other aspect bothering on bundles of paper, the court noted that the argument of the appellant counsel could not hold because the documents before the court are incomplete and could not be stated to have emanated from the lower court.
Justice Fasanmi said : 'On the departure from the rule of court and the bundle of paper, the application also lacked merit, I refuse and accordingly struck out'.
Reacting to the ruling, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) counsel to the PDP and Chief Richard Akinjide (SAN) counsel to Governor Akala both commended the ruling, describing it as expedient and display of scholarship.
But , Akeredolu counsel to the appliacnt later urged the court to hear a fresh appeal with suit number CA/IB/55/2011, stressing that wining the matter is secondary but getting justice for the nation is paramount. He appealed that the court clerk be allowed to mention the case so that a date could be picked for further hearing.
But Fagbemi and Akinjide objected to his request on the ground that the matter was not before the court as it was not on the case list, insisting that none should be allowed to take other parties by surprise.
This howeve generated hot arguments and exchange of words between the two opposing counsels.
The judges in his comment said the matter that brought them to court has been determined while urging Akeredolu to send a letter for the hearing of fresh application.
There were however drama outside the court ,shortly after the court proceeding, while a faction loyal to Governor Akala were jubilating over the court ruling, those of the opposition camp reigned curses on Governor Akala and Akinjide, describing Akinjide as a bastard from Ibadan,saying ' he is the only Ibadan son of his status supporting evil'.