Probe Justice Adeleye’s Appointment – Group Kicks

The Bayelsa Professional Forum,(BPF) has called on the President of the Appeal Court to launch an investigation into the processes that led to the appointment of Justice Adekunle Adeleye as the Election Petition Tribunal’s Chairman in the case between the Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri and the Candidate of the All Progressives Congress,APC, Chief Timipre Sylva.

The Bayelsa Professional Forum, secretary, Philip Erepa, said such probe had become necessary following a viral petition written to the office of the appeal court’s President by Sylva’s legal team requesting the disbandment of the Election Petition panel chaired by Adeleye.

Erepa said, besides all the allegations contained in the legal team’s petition, there were also insinuations that Diri and his Lawyer, Tayo Oyetibo, SAN, allegedly influenced the appointment of Adeleye as the Chairman of the three-man panel.

He appealed to the President of the Appeal Court to probe the veracity of the claims that Oyetibo was a personal friend and classmate of Justice Adeleye and that through his influence the justice was handed over the case.

“Apart from the allegations contained in the petition, we are appealing to the President of the Court of Appeal to probe the way and manner Justice Adeleye was appointed the chairman of the tribunal. We want the appeal court President to verify the claims that Oyetibo, who is Douye Diri’s lawyer and Justice Adeleye were classmates and personal friends. Among other things, we want the Appeal Court’s President to verify the claim that Governor Douye Diri, his Akwa Ibom State counterpart and Oyetibo influenced the appointment of Adeleye as the tribunal chairman”, he said.

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“The court should probe the claims that after Adeleye handled the case of the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Governor Diri reached out to the Akwa Ibom State Governor and requested him to help secure the services of Justice Adeleye. And fortunately for them, Diri’s lawyer happened to be a classmate and friend of the justice and in no time, Adeleye was named the tribunal chairman. How true is this? We also heard that the daughter of the president of the appeal court and her mother facilitated the entire appointment.
We are appealing to the tribunal to launch investigations immediately to verify these claims”, he added.

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He urged the court not to sweep all the insinuations and allegations contained in Sylva’s petition under the carpet describing them as hitting on the nucleus of judicial justice.

“The petition is alleging that, Justice Adeleye distorted the testimonies of the witnesses and refused to give Sylva enough time to call his witnesses as earlier agreed between the tribunal and Sylva’s legal team. How can you give only seven days to call 234 witnesses and still insisted on entertaining only eight witnesses a day against the earlier agreed 25 witnesses? The hurdle he created made Sylva and his team to close their case after calling only 49 witnesses and reluctantly released his records of proceedings, Adeleye was accused of making many comments and observations in writing indicating that the tribunal had decided to favour Diri. Sylva’s team also claimed that the oral testimonies of the witnesses were distorted so much that in places where some witnesses said ‘yes’, Adeleye wrote ‘no”, he disclosed.

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“We are calling on the President of the Court of Appeal to immediately ask Justice Adeleye to recuse himself from the case to allow an independent investigations into these claims, which bother on the very essence of justice. The essence of court is justice and for any case to have merit, justice should be seen as served and not manipulated. What we are asking is justice must prevail in this case than been manipulated”, he said.

By Owunna Goodness, Bayelsa