A drama occurred Wednesday at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, as counsels argued over which case should be called first.
Senate President Bukola Saraki is undergoing trial for alleged false declaration of assets.
The tribunal had on Tuesday held that in line with the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, Mr. Saraki’s trial will continue on a daily basis.
However, the trial of the of Former Minister of Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe, had earlier been moved from April 14 to 20 for continuation of trial.
Messrs. Orubebe and Saraki were at the tribunal Wednesday.
At the opening of session, the tribunal’s chairman, Danladi Umar, attempted to start with Mr. Orubebe’s case, informing the tribunal that 30 minutes would be allocated for the matter.
But the prosecution counsel in Mr. Orubebe’s matter drew the attention of Mr. Umar to the fact that the lead counsel for Mr. Saraki was a highly revered senior advocate, and that as the practice of the bench demands, it was against the norm to start with a matter relating to junior counsel, even if he was a Senior Advocate too.
Mr. Umar sought the opinion of Mr. Orubebe’s counsel, Selekowei Larry, on the proposed decision to adjourn the matter.
In his response, however, Mr. Larry said they were served a notice to adjourn the matter to April 20.
He said no communication was made to his office about a possible need for further adjournment. Mr. Larry said he and his team had come from a far distance, and should therefore be given the right to be heard.
Mr. Agabi also lent a voice, and asked the tribunal to continue with its proposed matter, stressing that although he had no right of opinion on the matter, he understood Mr. Larry.
However, the prosecution counsel in Mr. Saraki’s case, Rotimi Jacobs, reiterated the point earlier made by the prosecution in Mr. Orubebe’s case.
According to Mr. Jacobs, it was against the tenets of the bench to begin with a case relating to Mr. Orubebe, when Mr. Kanu was in court and waiting to begin his own matter.
Mr. Umar said he had earlier warned Mr. Larry to be cautious with his tone at the tribunal, adding that he had an obligation to respect his senior colleague.
Responding, Mr. Larry said he had high esteem for Mr. Agabi, but felt he had the right to be heard, considering the fact that they travelled from a long distance to meet the demands of the tribunal.
Subsequently, Mr. Umar stepped down the case relating to Mr. Orubebe till the end of Mr. Saraki’s trial on Wednesday.
This development did not go down well, with Mr. Larry who reluctantly sat down, while his client walked out of the dock.Mr. Saraki’s trial began immediately.
SOURCE: Premium Times
GUESS IYKE’s COMMENT: #NewsmadeinNigeria. One day we shall the end of all this drama