By Adeola Oladele, Ibadan
Hearing in the election petition suit filed by the Accord party governorship candidate in the last governorship poll in Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, challenging the election of Governor Abiola Ajimobi was on Tuesday stalled following the retirement of the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice F.C. Obieze.
The retirement of the chairman was announced by Hon. Justice Mohammed Karaye, while briefing lawyers who have come for pre-hearing conference, which was scheduled to begin on Tuesday.
While informing the counsel, Justice Karaye, a member of the tribunal, said the pre-hearing session could not commence because of the chairman of the tribunal would retire after reaching the retirement age of 65years, adding that the tribunal could not sit without the chairman.
He further said he was informed that a new chairman of the tribunal had been appointed and would probably be in Ibadan on Friday.
While addressing newsmen, Mr. Richard Ogunwole, counsel to Ladoja and Accord party, said he was very happy that the chairman of the tribunal retired before the commencement of the hearing.
Ogunwole said if the hearing had commenced and the chairmen retired midway it would have caused a setback for the petition. Accord party’s Ladoja had petitioned the tribunal challenging the election of Governor Ajimobi of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Ajimobi as the winner of April 11 governorship election in the state.
Also joined in the petition are APC, Oyo State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Rufus Akeju and INEC.
The lead counsel to Ladoja and Accord party is Mr. Richard Ogunwole (SAN), while that of Ajimobi is Mr. Wole Olanipekun (SAN).
The counsel to APC is Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) while that of INEC is Mr. Adeboye Sobanjo. The judge, however, adjourned the case to June 29 for the pre-hearing session.