Judges at the Appeal Court in Abuja handling the appeal of Chief Inibehe Okorie against the upholding of the election of Senator Godswill Akpabio at the weekend berated Okorie’s lawyers for their poor handling of the appeal. The Judges warned that they would not accommodate any time-wasting antics.
Trouble for Chief Okorie’s legal team started when the lead Counsel, A. O. Oyegun claimed that she had not been served the processes by the lawyers to the PDP led by Adekunle Oyesanya, SAN. However, Mr Oyesanya debunked this and informed the Court that Counsel to Chief Okorie rejected to be served.
The Judges were miffed by such attitude of the Counsel and reprimanded her and urged her to respond to the brief of argument of the PDP even though she claimed she had not read it.
When the heat appeared too much for Chief Okorie’s lead Counsel, she sought the permission of the Court for her Junior colleague to continue the arguments to which the Judges said legal representation was not a relay race, that her colleague should write whatever point he wished to make for her to read out.
At a point, Chief Okorie was seen tip-toeing to whisper to the lead counsel what she should say. Finally, Ms Oyegun adopted her arguments for the first and second respondents to apply to the brief of argument filed by the PDP.
Counsel to Senator Akpabio, Paul Usoro, SAN informed the Judges that the singular issue for determination was whether Chief Akpabio was sponsored by the PDP as a candidate for Akwa Ibom North-West and disclosed that several witnesses had testified to that effect during trial at the Tribunal and urged the Appeal Court to dismiss the appeal and affirm the judgment of the Tribunal.
On his part, Counsel to the PDP, Mr Oyesanya disclosed that there was no confusion as to the senatorial district which Chief Akpabio contested the election, since Chief Okorie was also an aspirant along with Chief Akpabio in PDP before he defected to the APC and similarly urged the Court to dismiss the appeal in its entirety.
However, Counsel to Chief Okorie prayed the Appeal Court to set aside the judgment of the Tribunal and enter judgment in favour of Chief Okorie. Having listened to all the parties, the Judges reserved judgment and said a date would be communicated to the parties.