AN Appeal Court sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State Capital on Monday adjourned till October 16, further hearing on the appeal filed by opposition political parties in Osun State against the controversial December 15, 2007 local government elections in the state.
Adoption of the brief of arguments of the appellants and respondents could not be taken on Monday as earlier fixed, as the three-man appeal panel led by Justice John Fabiyi has apparently overworked for the day.
It would be recalled that three major opposition political parties in the State, Action Congress (AC), National Conscience Party (NCP), and All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) – had dragged Osun State Independent Electoral Commission (OSIEC) and the State Attorney – General and Commissioner for Justice before the appellate court against the judgement of the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Fasasi Ogunsola over the council election.
The political parties disagreed with the judgement, which ordered the go-ahead of the elections despite the failure of OSIEC to give 150 days notice to the parties as argued by the appellant.
After the judgment of the State High Court, opposition parties in the state boycotted the elections and subsequently filed an appeal against the judgement.
When the matter was mentioned on Monday, Justice Fabiyi said that the panel would not be able to go on with the matter because the panel of judges had had enough of election-related cases for the day, asking parties in the case to choose a date for further hearing.
Dissatisfied with the position of the panel, counsel to the appellant, Chief Femi Falana said it would be inappropriate for the court not to go on with the matter, reminding the panel that it was an election-related matter.
Falana, who led Barrister Wale Afolabi and Kolapo Alimi said: “My lord, don’t forget that on the last adjourned date, you were kind enough to ask us to come back today for the adoption of our brief of argument. Don’t forget that is an election – related matter.”
In response, Justice Fabiyi said: “We have had enough of election related matter today and we want to attend to some criminal cases”. We have tried today or have we not tried?
But Falana insisted that the court should allow him and the counsel to the respondents, Mr. Remi Abimbola to adopt their brief of argument, saying “My lord I urge you to please allow us, I will not waste the time of the court and my learned friend, counsel to the respondents is also ready to do the same.”
“I understand that you have tried today and we appreciate that, but if I may say, let’s just adopt our brief of argument in just one sentence without wasting your time,” Falana insisted.
Justice Fabiyi stood on his position, saying, “Lawyers of your stand should know our plight. You should know that we have been dealing with election matters since morning and we are also human beings.”
Another Judge in the panel, Justice Istifanus Thomas also buttressed Fabiyi, saying, “You should understand that we are not computers.”
The court however fixed further hearing of the matter till October, 16, when the judgment date is expected to be fixed after the appellants and the respondents counsel might have adopted their briefs of argument.