PDP Guber Ticket: Court Adjourns Abubakar, Wada Case Till Nov. 27

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A Lokoja high court on Tuesday adjourned to November 27, a case seeking to disqualify the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Engr Musa Wada from contesting the November 16 governorship election in the state.

Abubakar Idris, the son of former governor of the state had dragged Wada who is his brother in-law, to court on the ground that he was not properly elected as the party’s candidate during the governorship primary held on Sept. 3.

He is therefore urging the court to disqualify him and declare him (Abubakar) as the rightful winner of the party’s primary. The court had last Friday adjourned the case till today after all the witnesses of the claimant had  testified and were cross examined by the counsel.

When the case came up for defence today, counsel to the first defendant (PDP), Mr Kola Olowookere told the court that the former counsel handling the case was indisposed and has just handed over the case to him.

He argued that he needed time to  obtain record of proceedings from the registry in order for him to properly study it.

He also said the that  case file was handed over to him less than 24 hours of his appearance in court.

The counsel  explained that he needed time to study the file to decide whether to continue with the case at the stage it is now  or to modify it by calling more witnesses.

Olowookere therefore requested the court to adjourn the case for five working weeks so that he would be able to study the case properly and continue (if necessary) at the stage it is now.

He stressed that for justice and fair hearing to be dispensed to all parties,  enough time must be given for the trial judge to “hear all the hearable and see all the seeable.”

But counsel to Abubakar Idris, Mr. Rowland Otaru SAN, stoutly objected to the plea for adjournment, saying that the counsel to the first defendant (PDP) does not need any extra time to study a case which has reached a defence level.

He urged  the court to be mindful of  the issue at stake which is the governorship election which  is just 11 days away and of public interest.

Otaru said the defence counsel  was only using delay tactic to prolong the case and reminded the trial judge of his earlier  promise to give the case an expeditious hearing and therefore urged the court to over rule the plea.

Counsel to the second defendant (Wada), Prof Joash Amupitan SAN, while supporting the plea for adjournment, told the court not to allow itself to be stampeded into taking a decision that will not be fair to all the parties in the suit.

He said that the “principle of justice and fair hearing is a tripod issue that affects not only the claimant but both  the defendant and even the court.”

According to him, since the case is a pre-election matter the court is constitutionally allowed to adjudicate in the matter within 180 days.

“The court still has many days on its side and should therefore not allow it to  be rushed in a way that Justice will be miscarried,” he argued.

After listening to all parties, the trial judge, Richard Olorunfemi in his ruling said nobody can pressurize or stampede him to do anything outside the law.

He said that he had read  on the social media how some insinuations were being made against him, saying that he remained undaunted because he has made a covenant with God to service with his conscience, honour and integrity.

“None of you can buy me over, whether it is APC or PDP or anybody. I have made a covenant with my God precisely on May 18, 1999 that if I upturn justice for any monetary gain or favour that God should remove me from where I am because my being a judge is by his Mercy,” he stated.

While accepting the plea for adjournment, Olorunfemi said the court must not be made to embark on ”neck breaking speed’ when there was still much time to hear all sides of the case.

He added that for the principle of fair hearing and justice, no one should be deprived from being adequately heard.

He therefore adjourned the case to Nov.  27 for defence.

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