Adeola Oladele, Ibadan
The pre- hearing of the petition filed by the former governor and Accord gubernatorial candidate in 2015, Rashidi Ladoja, challenging the victory of Gov Abiola Ajimobi in the last April governorship election, suffered another setback following the absence of a substantive chairman for the tribunal which necessitated the adjournment of the case till 21 July, 2015.
The development was caused by the issues surrounding the appointment and resumption of a new chairman for the tribunal as Justice F. C Obieze, who was the panel’s initial chairman, but retired shortly after its inauguration.
Ladoja’s Accord however frowned at the development, insisting the absence of a new chairman for the tribunal is stretching the patience of electorate in the state.
When the tribunal convened, its Acting Chairman, Justice Mohammed I Karaye inquired from Senator Ladoja’s lead counsel, Chief Richard Ogunwole (SAN), on the results of the formal letter he was advised to write to the President of Court of Appeal on the appointment of a new chairman for the tribunal.
Chief Ogunwole revealed that he was able to meet the Court of Appeal President on the issue, adding that a new chairman had already been appointed for the tribunal and would resume ‘‘probably, over the weekend.”
He consequently suggested that the pre hearing of the petition may begin on Monday.
Gov. Ajimobi’s counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), that of All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), as well as that of Oyo State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Toyin Akeju and of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Barrister Adeboye Shobanjo however, pushed for Tuesday, July 21 for the commencement of the pre -hearing, raising the issue of public holiday to commemorate end of Muslim’s Ramadan as well as the need for the new chairman to have enough time to go through the necessary papers on the petition.
Consequently, Justice Karaye, after consultations with Chief Ogunwole and other counsels, fixed Tuesday, 21 July, 2015 for the commencement of the pre-hearing.
Accord Party, in a swift reaction, frowned at the adjournment, urging authorities concerned to ensure that the new chairman resumes urgently.