The Ondo State High Court 8, sitting in Akure, was on Thursday thrown into confusion arising from a dispute over legal representation in the suit filed against the continued stay in office of the state acting Chief Judge, Justice Temitayo Osoba.
Justice Osoba was dragged to court by Mr. Femi Emmanuel Emodamori, an Akure-based human rights lawyer, who wants her removed from office on account of alleged age falsification.
The lawyer also petitioned the National Judicial Council (NJC) and Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, governor of Ondo State, over the same matter.
In addition, Mr. Emodamori asked the Attorney -General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, to investigate the allegation of age falsification brought against Justice Osoba.
The confusion began when one Mrs.Genevive Okoye, a lawyer from Dayo Akinlaja Chambers, announced herself as the defense counsel to Justice Osoba. Prior to Thursday, Mr. Batife Philips, a lawyer from the Ondo State Ministry of Justice, had served as defense counsel to the Acting Chief Judge. The assumption of the role by Mrs. Okoye nudged Mr. Philips to announce his withdrawal as the defense counsel to Justice Osoba.
However, Mr. Emodamori told the court Mr. Philips must make a formal application for withdrawal before another counsel could take up the case. He argued that the two memoranda of appearance filed by both counsels in defense of Justice Osoba cannot stand in the court of law.
The prosecuting counsel explained that there must also be another application for extension of time and payment of fine by the new
defense counsel in line with the provisions of the constitution.
“They have to first file a paper for extension and then pay a penalty for filing a late paper before the court, which is according to the constitution,” he said.
Mr. Emodamori sought an oral application to make his position known in the case so as to avoid a delay in the hearing of the matter.
Mrs. Okoye countered the argument, asking the court to allow a written application.
The trial judge, Justice Aderemi Adegoroye, ordered the prosecuting counsel to file a written application on the issue of memoranda of appearance. Justice Adegoroye subsequently adjourned the case till 16