Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the inclusion of Justice Joseph Oyewole in the Osun State Governorship Election Appeal Tribunal.
Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja, yesterday, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, alleged that Oyewole has strong ties with the All Progressives Congress (APC), which is an interested party in the appeal.
Ologbondiyan said there is the likelihood that Oyewole will be biased against the PDP and its candidate in the last Osun gubernatorial election, Senator Ademola Adeleke.
He said the opposition party has already petitioned the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, to protest the inclusion of Oyewole in the appeal panel.
He said: “Hon. Justice Oyewole (JCA) is an indigene of Osun State and he had served as a high court judge of Lagos State and had thus served under the administration of Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu (the national leader of the APC) while he (Tinubu) was the governor of Lagos State.
“When the seat of the chief judge of Osun State became vacant, some years back, upon the retirement of Hon. Justice G.O Ojo, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu insisted on having his anointed candidate, Hon Justice J.O.K Oyewole, on the Judiciary of Osun State at all cost.
“It will be recalled that it took the courageous intervention of the then Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloma Murktar, to prevail that the most senior judge of Osun State judiciary should be so appointed.
“When a seat became vacant at the Court of Appeal, the name of Hon. Justice Oyewole was pushed forward by Senator Tinubu, using the slot of Osun State and thus, Justice Oyewole became Justice of the Court of Appeal.
“It is, therefore, a fact known to us and members of the public that Hon. Justice Oyewole has a strong connection with the APC and its leader, Senator Ahmed Tinubu. As such, he should not sit as a panel member for a governorship election dispute between the PDP and the APC.
“It will be most unsafe to allow Hon. Justice J.O.K Oyewole to sit on the appeal panel. We are not assured that justice will be done with Hon. Justice J.O.K Oyewole as a member of the panel.
“The PDP, therefore, demands that the President of the Court of Appeal immediately replace Hon. Justice J.O.K Oyewole with another justice of the Court of Appeal without any affiliation with Osun State out of the over 90 eminent justices of the Court of Appeal.”