..BATTLE SHIFTS TO COURT OF APPEAL
The legal battle over the governorship primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State has shiffted to the Court of Appeal following an appeal lodged against the exparte order of Justice Gabriel Kolawole of a Federal High Court by the party.
Besides, the party also filed an application to stay proceedings at the trial court pending the determination of its appeal by the appellate court.
The development also stalled bid of Henry Seriake Dickson to join the suit as an interested party.
When the matter came up yesterday, counsel to Governor Timipre Sylva, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) informed the court of the pending appeal and asked that the matter be adjourned sine dine to enable the final determination of the case at the Court of Appeal.
Fagbemi stunned PDP, other defendants and observers when he told the court he had no objection to the motion for stay filed by PDP and urged the judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole to grant it.
By that action, Fagbemi had successfully avoided a legal mine planted by PDP, as an objection by him would not have been in the interest of his client.
His words: '10 minutes before you sat, we were served with a number of processes by the 2nd defendant (PDP). My lord, the processes include, record of proceedings from this court, containing some processes in this case including a ruling they (PDP) said they are not aware of. They also filed in the Court of Appeal a stay of proceedings dated November 21, 2011 and a notice of appeal dated on the same date.
'The path of law and honour is that since this matter having been entered at the Court of Appeal and with the motion sill pending, the battle ground now shifts to the Court of Appeal. So we pray your lordship to allow the matter move to your senior brothers. But let me note that it is interesting the speed at which the PDP got the CTC of the proceedings and the speed with which the PDP travelled to the Court of Appeal. I hope they will use the same speed to pursue their appeal. It is the only path of honour which we have taken and hope they will also take instead of denying service as they had done earlier.'
In his response, counsel for PDP, Chief Olusola Oke, confirmed the information given by Fagbemi regarding its notice of appeal and motion for stay of proceedings. 'We confirm the information given by learned senior counsel to the plaintiff, Fagbemi and we have always appreciated his candour.
'Each time I appear in a matter with him there is always something new I learn and take away with him.'
Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), counsel to PDP acting national chairman had this to say: 'I confirm all what Fagbemi said. And I want to commend the attitude of my learned brother (Fagbemi) that he has not wasted the time of the court. We will all move to the Court of Appeal.'
Counsel to Dickson, Joe Kyari-Gadzama, also thanked Fagbemi for his noble practice.
'What we witnessed from Fagbemi is commendable. As soon as he came in, he assembled all of us and we discussed and he guided us on this proceedings. That is why we have moved this fast and that is the kind of noble leaders at the bar that we need; it is what we expect of senior advocates.'
The judge, pleased with Fagbemi's candour and pragmatism, said: 'You took the matter by the jugular,' and commending him for his nobility, saying it gave him hope that the legal practice could return to its best.
His words: 'We have young lawyers, law students and some secondary students who say they want to be lawyers and therefore came here on excursion to see how the court proceedings are done. I am happy that they have seen some of the finest ethics of the profession in display today. I thank all counsel especially Fagbemi for his candour and noble practice.'
Consequently, he adjourned the matter sine die (indefinitely) to enable the Court of Appeal consider the PDP's appeal.