The national leadership of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the inclusion of Justice Joseph Oyewole as member of the Osun State governorship election appeal tribunal.
The PDP alleged Justice Oyewole has strong connections with the All Progressives Congress (APC), which is an interested party in the case under appeal.
At a media briefing in Abuja on Tuesday, spokesman for the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, the main opposition party, said it has petitioned the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa.
The PDP had stated in the petition that there was a clear likelihood of Justice Oyewole being biased against its candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke and his party, PDP.
Other grounds on which the PDP rejected Justice Oyewole’s inclusion in the appeal panel, as stated by Ologbondiyan are:
“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, Tinubu.
‘’As such he should not sit as a panel member for a governorship election dispute between the PDP and the APC.
“Moreover, Hon. Justice J.O.K Oyewole is from Osun state. The instant appeal is over the decision of the Osun state Governorship Tribunal. Given his connections with 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.
“As a party, we do not have confidence in Hon. Justice J.O.K Oyewole.
‘’So the PDP vehemently objects to his inclusion, as he is likely to be biased against our party and our candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke”.
The party added: “The PDP called on the President of the Court of Appeal to immediately replace Justice Oyewole with another justice of the Court of Appeal, who has no affiliation with Osun state. There are over 90 eminent Justices of the Court of Appeal.
“Our party and candidate hold that justice must not only be done but also manifestly seen to be done in this matter. Indeed, an insistence on Hon. Justice J.O.K Oyewole’s inclusion in the Appeal Panel may confirm our fears that his name could have been deliberately included so that he can carry out a special assignment against our candidate and the party in the appeal.”