ABEOKUTA – President, Nigerian Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa, has disbanded the Ogun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal headed by Justice Chinwe Onyeabo.
A source closed to the tribunal told Sunday INDEPENDENT that an internal memo had been addressed to Justice Onyeabo and two other members of the Tribunal; Justice D. A. Onyigbenu and Justice (Khadi) M.L. Omar, informing them to leave Ogun State for another assignment.
It was further gathered that one Justice Josephine Coker from Lagos Division would now head the newly constituted three man panel which included Justice Kabir Dabo who is a member of the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal in the State, and one Justice Jubril, from Kano Division.
The development, it was gathered, might not be unconnected with a motion on notice dated April 15, filled by the All Progressives Congress, (APC), calling on members of the tribunal to recuse themselves from further sitting as members of the tribunal.
In the alternative, the APC prayed the President of the Appeal Court to constitute a new panel different from the panel headed by Onyeabo.
The APC accused the panel of violating the right to fair hearing in the two factional petitions filled by Labour Party against the emergence of Dapo Abiodun of the APC as the Governor-Elect of the State.
The Labour Party had filled two factional petitions; one filled by a former Secretary of the Party, Comrade Ogini Olaposi and the other, by the Chairman of the Party in the State, Abayomi Arabanbi.
When contacted, the Secretary of the Tribunal, Nyior Henry Sekulla said he has no authority to respond to issues of whether the panel has been disbanded or not.
He however confirmed that there “has been reshufflement one way or the other across the federation”, adding that ‘Ogun State is likely to be affected or has been affected, but the situation will get clearer after we resume from the Easter break’.