Thursday, February 7, 2019

Rivers PDP Counsel Withdraws Legal Services Despite Case Between Party, APC & INEC Is Still Very Much On

Ferdinand Orbih, counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the political matter involving PDP, the ruling party, APC, and the electoral commission, INEC in Rivers State, says he has withdrawn his legal services to the party.

Mr Orbih, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, announced his withdrawal on Wednesday in Port Harcourt, during the Court of Appeal sitting.

He said his withdrawal from the political matter was personal and on “compassionate grounds”.

The counsel had on February 5 argued that the court should not entertain APC’s appeal against the judgment of Justice Kolawole Omotosho of the Federal High Court Judgment of January 7, barring APC from presenting candidates for the general elections.

Mr Orbih had argued that APC brought the lower court record of proceeding directly, instead of through the court registrar.

He said his withdrawal did not affect the applications he had filed before the court.

“My name is on the applications,” he said, highlighting that it was the withdrawal of appearance and not (the) withdrawal of any application.

“If there is the need to contribute, I will. I am not a frivolous person,” he said.

Prince Azunda and Mustapha Ibrahim, counsel to APC, argued that there should be “consequence for the withdrawal”.

They contended that Mr Orbih’s withdrawal amounted to a defeat of his applications.

“There must be a consequence of his withdrawal,” they said.

Ruling on the issue of withdrawal, Justice Ali Gumail, the lead judge, said it was the SAN’s constitutional right. ‘‘There is no urgency in this matter,” he said.

The court adjourned until February 13, for pending motions to enable PDP to get a replacement for Mr Orbih.

The SAN told reporters outside the courtroom that there was “no” undercurrent in his withdrawal, adding that he had his “professional philosophy.”