From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt

The Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt has granted the national leadership of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) the request to take over all the cases pending at the appellant court in Rivers State.

The request came after Johnson Usman, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), read a letter from the national body of the PDP to debrief all counsels representing their party in the cases before the court.

When the appeal filed by PDP against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Accord and its governorship candidate, Dumo Lulu-Briggs and deputy came up, one of the counsels representing PDP from Ukala’s chambers, Dike Udenna, requested and applied that the court should debrief them since the appellant in the matter had asked them to hands off the case.

He also requested and applied that they should be debriefed in an appeal filled by PDP against INEC, APC and its National Assembly candidates.

Other counsels in the case did not oppose to the request; and the new legal representation from PDP, Usman, requested that the court should give him time to study the cases.

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The lead judge, Justice Joseph Shangbai, granted the request to debrief state PDP counsel and adjourned till February 3, 2023, for hearing.

Speaking to journalists outside the court room, the new counsel for PDP, Usman, said the directive to take over all PDP cases in Rivers State came from the national body of party.

He said: “I am in court this morning because the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), through its National Legal Adviser, briefed me to take over an appeal filed by PDP against INEC and other candidates of other political parties which appeal is pending before this Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division.”

Counsel for Accord, Abdulhameed Muhammed, said constitutionally, the appellant has the right to change counsel(s).

Similarly, one of the counsels for APC, Mustapha Ibrahim, said the court adjourned for hearing in the interest of fair hearing.