Oba Maduabuchi, a lawyer attempting to represent the Labour Party (LP) and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi was rejected by the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja on Friday.
Awa Kalu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, had announced legal representation for the Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, when Maduabuchi suddenly stood up to announce his appearance for the petitioners.
Mr Maduabuchi said “I have been instructed to represent the petitioners,” without disclosing the name of who briefed him to represent the party and Mr Obi
The action from Maduabuchi was met with rumours from the courtroom as it was confusing and unexpected. The lawyer is perceived to be from the camp of Lamidi Apapa, who had emerged as the party’s chair following a court order suspending Julius Abure as the party’s substantive chair.
The chairman of the five-member panel, Haruna Tsammani reacted to the situation by saying that the court would not take two legal representations for the petitioners.
“You didn’t file a petition. So, you cannot announce your appearance for the petitioners,” Mr Tsammani retorted.
The courtroom echoed with cheers saying “as the court pleases.”
Abba Mohammed, a member of the panel lending his voice to the issue said the lawyer
Ought to have advised his client “that you cannot have two counsel representing a client in one suit.”
The Labour Party has been enmeshed in a leadership crisis that has led to the suspension of its national chairman, Julius Abure.
What led to Abure and Apampa controversy
Mr Abure was earlier suspended by a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja in April, while Lamidi Apapa who was earlier suspended by the party, assumed headship of the Labour Party.
During the Wednesday court hearing, Apapa clashed with Akin Osuntokun, Director General of Peter Obi’s presidential campaign council. He was later mobbed by riotous LP supporters shortly after Wednesday’s proceedings.
He however returned to court on Friday.
While there have been insinuations concerning plots by Mr Apapa to take over LP’s petition with a view to withdrawing it from court Maduabuchi’s conduct at Friday’s proceedings is assumed to be connected to the crisis rocking the party. He however denied the allegation at a press briefing on Wednesday in Abuja.
Court Hearing on live broadcast of the court’s proceeding
On Friday, the court heard Mr Obi’s request concerning a live broadcast of the court’s proceedings. Thereafter, the court adjourned until 22 May for ruling on the application for a live broadcast of the court’s sittings.
The court also heard similar application by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, but is yet to announce the date for the hearing.
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