Hope seems to be rising for the embattled governorship candidate of the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led PDP faction, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede, as the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, has constituted a fresh panel to hear the appeals emanating from the disputes over the ticket of the party for the November 26 governorship election in Ondo State.
The new three-man panel is led by Justice Ibrahim Salauwa of the Calabar Division of the Appellate Court.
Three of the five pending cases have been assigned to the new panel.
The action followed Tuesday’s decision of the Justice Jummai Sankey-led panel to disqualify itself from further presiding over the cases because of a petition by the Jimoh Ibrahim faction of the PDP that the judges were bribed.
The petition was filed by the Chairman of the Ibrahim faction in Ondo, Mr. Biyi Poroye, accusing the panel members and Justice Bulkachuwa of receiving bribes.
The withdrawal had put the chances of Jegede, being backed Governor Olusegun Mimiko, to be on the ballot in jeopardy as INEC had earlier removed his name and put that of Jimoh Ibrahim on its list of candidates for the election.
A letter by Justice Bulkachuwa addressed to Justice Salauwa and the two other members of the new panel was dispatched on Wednesday.
The letter directed the new panel members to work out the dates of hearing in the cases assigned to them with the Presiding Justice of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal.
Meanwhile, Ibrahim’s lawyer, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN), on Wednesday, withdrew his services.
To him, the way the Ibrahim faction accused the judges of corruption was an embarrassment and an indictment on his person and his character.
He said in his letter addressed to Ibrahim: “For professional ethics and my integrity, I cannot continue on this as I was not told or given a copy of the said petition”.