Further details have emerged regarding the petition written against a judge of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, Jummai Sankey, on the Ondo State Peoples Democratic Party crisis.
Ms. Sankey had earlier on Tuesday recused herself from presiding over applications brought by Eyitayo Jegede, the candidate of the Ahmed Makarfi’s PDP faction.
Her decision, which was also taken by the other two members of the panel, was on the ground that a petition had been written against them by Biyi Poroye, the state chairman of the party, from the faction led by former Borno State governor, Modu Sheriff.
The petition dated October 31, read in court, said that the Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko had allegedly boasted of bribing the presiding judge with a sum of N350 million.
The petitioner, Mr. Poroye, claimed that Mr. Mimiko made the statement at a public gathering and that he had earlier boasted of treating Ms. Sankey to a bribe of N100 million.
Mr. Poroye, in the petition, alleged that Ms. Sankey had been sick for the past five years and had most likely spent her fortune on treatment, hence the possibility that she would be prone to being compromised for financial gains.
He added that Ms. Sankey was transferred from Yola, where Mr. Jegede had practiced for over 15 years, and therefore she could have had strong ties with the applicant.
He also faulted what he termed as ‘the composition of a special panel to hear a pre-election matter,’ adding that there was no reason for the President of the Court of Appeal, Zainab Bulkachuwa, to have done so since the appeal was not time bound.
Counsel representing both factions had in court indicated a lack of knowledge about the said petition and condemned it.
Ms. Sankey had also condemned the decision of the petitioner to have used her illness as a basis for the allegations against her.
“Conscience is an open wound; only truth can heal it. It is painful that the petitioner used my ailment predicament to insult me, to allege that I am a poor Judge, sick for five years and prone to corruption.
“I am ready to carry my illness on my shoulder, but it is unfair for the petitioner to make my sickness an issue in his petition,” she had said.
The court had opted to ignore the petition, since the counsel indicated ignorance, but noted that any case of alleged bias has the legal requirement for consideration.
The panel, therefore, returned the case files to the president of the court, till the determination of the issues contained in the petition.
The appeal court had planned among other things to decide whether the lower court was right in deciding that the faction of the party led by Mr. Sheriff was the right camp of the PDP.
That decision was to form the basis of determining the rightful candidate to be recognized as the flag-bearer of the PDP in the November 26 election.