Court of Appeal sitting in Benin, Edo State, yesterday urged the counsels in the case of alleged contempt brought before it by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2015 House of Assembly election for Etsako West II constituency, Sylvanus Eruaga, against the Speaker of the state House of Assembly and others to reconcile their internal differences on the matter.
The appellate court had summoned the Speaker, Mr. Victor Edoror, to explain why he should not be committed to prison over alleged contempt of court.Also, ordered to appear before the court was the Clerk of the House, Mr. Lawson Ugiagbe.
Both respondents were expected to face the court on appearance, following their alleged refusal to comply with an earlier order of the court on Form 48, which was a notice of consequence of disobedience of court order, in the suit marked CAC/B/EPT/343/2015.
Also joined as respondents were the Independent National Electoral Commission, state Chairman of the All Progressives Congress and the party and the candidate of the APC Gowon Yakubu.
‎The court had last week issued form 49, which is notice to show cause why an order of committal to prison should not be made on the Speaker and the Clerk in suit CA/B/93/2016.
The order read, “Take notice that the judgment creditor/applicant will on 21st day of March, 2016, at the hour of 9 O’ clock in the forenoon, apply to this honourable court for an order for your committal to prison, for having disobeyed the order of this honourable court made on the 19th December, 2015, requiring you to swear in the judgment creditor/applicant as the honourable member to represent Etsako West II constituency in the Edo State House of Assembly”.
‎Although Edoror and Ugiagbe were not present in court, they were represented by the Solicitor-General of the state, Mr. Oluwole Iyamu even as the state chapter of the APC, it’s ‎chairman, Anselm Ojezua, and INEC were represented by Ken Mozia, SAN, and Matthew Ugwuocha.
Iyamu, told the court that his client had not breached any order of the court, as it had withdrawn the certificate of return from Yakubu and given it to Eruaga.
He added that what was left to do was administrative, which the appellant ought not to have‎ brought before the court, in order to avoid an abuse of court processes.
“There is no order of the Court of Appeal that has been breached,” Iyamu said.
However, the presiding judge, Justice Olukayode Bada, expressed displeasure that the matter had been allowed to deteriorate and then admonished all counsels in the case, saying, “If we continue like this, this country will crash.‎”
“Nobody knows it all. Let everything settle down. It is in the best interest of all to allow peace to reign. Let us put in a second thought and look at it again,” he added.
The judge, therefore, adjourned the case to April 4, 2016, to allow the counsels in the case reconcile and reconsider the application.