Exclusive: Ondo Tribunal shuns Akeredolu’s counsel attempt to shut out journalists from covering proceedings

An attempt by Mr Yinka Orokoto, one of the counsel to Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and the Deputy Governor-elect, Lucky Aiyedatiwa to prevent journalists from covering the ongoing proceedings of the elections petitions tribunal has met a brickwall.

Starnews Nigeria reports that Orokoto while seeking more space Counsel at the tribunal told the presiding justices to allow lawyers use the space reserved for journalists.
‘My Lord, (pointing to the seats reserved for journalists) we can also use that place for lawyers.

The Tribunal chairman, Justice Umar Abubarkar however cut him short saying the seat was reserved for journalists.

Orokoto at the point said “My Lord, it is not important they are here. The case is meant for lawyers and not journalists.”

He however kept quiet when the tribunal chairman would not take his advice to send the journalists packing.

Orokoto had earlier arrived the court late as he made his way in minutes after the tribunal had commenced sitting.

With all the available spaces for members of the outer bar already taken, he had to go take his seat in the front row reserved for only members of the inner bar.

Speaking to Starnews Nigeria on the condition of anonymity, a counsel with APC described the action of Orokoto as uncharitable and unfair to journalists who are at the forefront of accurate reportage from the Tribunal.
“It was just unecessary for Mr Orokooto to have made an attempt to make journalists look irrelevant to the case. I would not have known his intention to shut them out in the name of canvassing for more space for counsel”

The media is very important to this case, especially in the face of many misrepresentation and fake news in the Media”

Meanwhile, The tribunal has fixed January 12 2020 to begin proper hearing on the petition of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and its candidate, Eyitayo Jegede,SAN.

The petition is challenging the victory of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN in the October 10 governorship election.

The tribunal chairman, Justice Umar Abubarkar announced the date while reading the report of the pre-trial hearing today at the Ondo state High Court, venue of the sitting.

He said that sitting will hold Mondays to Saturdays 9:30am to 5pm except on public holidays, and Sundays.

He added that the PDP and its candidate, Eyitayo Jegede SAN have 10 sitting days to present evidence in support of their case. INEC and the ruling APC have 7 sitting days to present evidence in rebuttal while Akeredolu and the Deputy-Governor elect, Lucky Aiyedatiwa jointly have 7 days to also present their evidence in rebuttal.

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