Counsel for the a faction of the PDP in Ekiti led by Williams Ajayi have dropped the party’s case after an alleged defamatory statement against the Appeal Court justices sitting in Ado-Ekiti.
Counsel Niran Owoseeni said the letter purportedly written by the secretary of Ajayi’s faction Dayo Owolabi, was a threat to his legal career.
He said he refused to be part of an attempt to rubbish “the temple of justice.”
The Ajayi-led executive had been validated by the verdict of the Federal High Court sitting in Ado Ekiti.
The lawyer said this when the matter came up for hearing at the appeal court on Wednesday, which formed part of the explanations to justify why he failed to produce Owolabi in court despite the court’s directive.
Justice Olanrewaju Belgore had on Monday ordered the lawyer to produce Owolabi in court to explain the reason behind such a derogatory statement.
In the statement dated January 20, 2017 submitted at the office of the Appeal Court’s Registrar, the Ajayi led exco had accused the justices of bias
over their failure to conduct the sitting of January 19, 2017, which centred on whether the judgement of January 24 at the Federal High Court should be held or suspended.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court judgement centred on which excos of the two factions is the authentic between Ajayi and Barr. Gboyega Oguntuase-led groups.
Announcing his withdrawal, Owoseeni said: “I have decided to step aside because I can’t be part of any attempt to malign your lordships. I won’t conduct myself in a way that will put judiciary in discomfort. I urge your lordships to allow me to step aside for another lawyer to take up this matter.
“But with all sense of responsibility, I delivered your message to them that you asked them to appear in court today. But I want to believe that the publicity the matter attracted must have scared them,” he said.
Owoseeni pleaded for adjournment of the case , pointing out that he was served with two counter affidavits by the appellant (Oguntuase) on Tuesday, that he needed time to respond to them.
Lawyer to the appellant, Chief Mike Ozekhome(SAN) , who appealed to the justices to overlook the matter said: “the statement against your lordships was very scary, opprobrious and odious to say the least.
“Judiciary is the third arm of government that gives nerves and valve to democracy. I have practiced law for 36 years and I feel sorry for this country about how your lordships are being insulted. Please, just take it easy with them”.
Ozekhome, however, contended that it could have been better if the author of the letter had appeared to clear his name.
He said the adjournment being sought by the respondent was needless, saying he would have to request for cost under this circumstance.
The presiding justice Belgore, said “we are not trying him for writing against us or sending him to prisons, but it could have been better for him to come so that we can tell him the gravity of his offence”.
Justice Belgore, in his brief ruling awarded N100,000 cost against the respondent to cover the cost of transportation for the appellant’s legal team and adjourned the case to March 20, 2017 .