2015 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

LAGOS JUDICIAL APPOINTMENT CRISIS: DOUBLE SHORTLISTS EMERGE.



In less than a month now, the controversial reign of Mr. Justice Adetula Augustine Alabi as the Chief Judge of Lagos which started in August 2004 will come to a definite end on August 8 2008.
There is no indication that the troubled reign will end quietly though. The reason is that the very last important duty of the Chief Judge, in his capacity as the chairman of the Lagos State Judicial Service, to wit nominating new judges from a pool of fiercely competitive candidates in already roiling in steaming crisis and controversy.
It would be recalled that last week, the squib released a list of candidates, short-listed for appointment into the Lagos state Bench. That short-list, signed by Mr. Justice Alabi goes thus-:
1. Mr. Christopher Ayodeji Balogun
2. Mrs. Olabisi Olusolabomi Ogungbesan
3. Mrs. Lateefat Abiola Morayo Folami
4. Mrs. Ibironke Olatunbosun Harrison
5. Mrs. Latifat Atinuke Oluyemi
6. Mrs. Oyindamola Adesola Ogala
7. Mrs. Fatimat Ibironke Kazeem
8. Mrs. Sedotan Sosi Ogunsanya
9. Mr. Emmanuel Olugbenga Ogundare
10. Miss. Olufunke Abiola Loko
11. Mrs. Elizabeth Mopelola Idowu Alakija
12. Mrs. Iyabo Olamide Akinkugbe
13. Mr. Kafeel Omobolaji Dawodu
14. Mrs. Adedayo Adeola Akintoye
15. Mrs. Funlola Adesola Odunlami
16. Mrs. Olufolake Oshin
However, the Squib can authoritatively disclose that, the said list was not the list drawn up by the Lagos State Judicial Service Commission (LSJSC) which considered the various applications of applicants for Judicial appointment and conducted WRITTEN EXAMINATION for them.
According to our unfailingly accurate and well-informed geckos in high and low places, only ten names of candidates were drawn up by the LSJSC after the examinations. The list of ten names had two teams. The Team A contained seven names of those considered the commission as the best and most preferable of all. The Team B contained names of three other candidates and the commission considered these three candidates as being on a supplementary list. One of those on Team B is Mrs. Oyindamola Ogala, the spouse of Mr. Babatunde Ogala, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the Lagos State House of Assembly.
We learnt and authoritatively too that after the commission drew up the 10 man list, the Chief Judge, Mr. Justice Alabi presented same to the Governor at a meeting which turned very ugly indeed.
According to our sources, the Governor was unhappy with commission’s list, and angrily accused the Chief Judge of excluding wider-ranging consultations before drawing up the commission’s list. According to our sources, there were angry verbal exchanges between the Governor and the Chief Judge, with the latter so much embarrassed by the heat of the encounter that he literally “stumbled and fumbled” out of the meeting place and had to be helped out as his lordship could not easily recognize again the way by which he came in.
It was after this confrontation that the sixteen man, circulated to the Bar and the Bench in Lagos state, by the Chief Judge, came up.
However, the afore-said 16 man list is not the only one of such in circulation. The Squib here reports that another 16 man list, allegedly signed by Mr. Justice Ade Alabi in his capacity as Chief Judge of Lagos State and Chairman of the Lagos State Judicial Service Commission is said to be making the rounds in the National Judicial Council, Abuja. This other 16 man list a.k.a “Abuja list” contains the same names of the candidates paraded by the “Lagos list” but in different order of arrangement. The list goes thus (see cover story 1 exhibits)
1. Mr. Christopher Ayodeji Balogun
2. Mrs. Olabisi Olusolabomi Ogungbesan
3. Mrs. Lateefat Abiola Morayo Folami
4. Mrs. Ibironke Olatunbosun Harrison
5. Mrs. Latifat Atinuke Oluyemi
6. Mrs. Olufolake Oshin
7. Mrs. Fatimat Ibironke Kazeem
8. Mrs. Sedotan Sosi Ogunsanya
9. Mrs. Funlola Adesola Odunlami
10. Miss. Olufunke Abiola Loko
11. Mrs. Elizabeth Mopelola Idowu Alakija
12. Mrs. Iyabo Olamide Akinkugbe
13. Mr. Kafeel Omobolaji Dawodu
14. Mrs. Adedati Adeola Akintoye
15. Mr. Emmanuel Olugbenga Ogundare
16. Mrs. Oyindamola Adesola Ogala
For a quicker understand of the issues herein, we place the two lists side by side
LAGOS LIST
(WITH BAR AND THE BENCH)
1. Mr. Christopher Ayodeji Balogun
2. Mrs. Olabisi Olusolabomi Ogungbesan
3. Mrs. Lateefat Abiola Morayo Folami
4. Mrs. Ibironke Olatunbosun Harrison
5. Mrs. Latifat Atinuke Oluyemi
6. Mrs. Oyindamola Adesola Ogala
7. Mrs. Fatimat Ibironke Kazeem
8. Mrs. Sedotan Sosi Ogunsanya
9. Mr. Emmanuel Olugbenga Ogundare
10. Miss. Olufunke Abiola Loko
11. Mrs. Elizabeth Mopelola Idowu Alakija
12. Mrs. Iyabo Olamide Akinkugbe
13. Mr. Kafeel Omobolaji Dawodu
14. Mrs. Adedayo Adeola Akintoye
15. Mrs. Funlola Adesola Odunlami
16. Mrs. Olufolake Oshin

ABUJA LIST
(WITH NJC)
1. Mr. Christopher Ayodeji Balogun
2. Mrs. Olabisi Olusolabomi Ogungbesan
3. Mrs. Lateefat Abiola Morayo Folami
4. Mrs. Ibironke Olatunbosun Harrison
5. Mrs. Latifat Atinuke Oluyemi
6. Mrs. Olufolake Oshin
7. Mrs. Fatimat Ibironke Kazeem
8. Mrs. Sedotan Sosi Ogunsanya
9. Mrs. Funlola Adesola Odunlami
10. Miss. Olufunke Abiola Loko
11. Mrs. Elizabeth Mopelola Idowu Alakija
12. Mrs. Iyabo Olamide Akinkugbe
13. Mr. Kafeel Omobolaji Dawodu
14. Mrs. Adedati Adeola Akintoye
15. Mr. Emmanuel Olugbenga Ogundare
16. Mrs. Oyindamola Adesola Ogala
The “Abuja List” differs from the “Lagos list” in four areas. First, while the “Lagos list” places Olufolake Oshin a Chief Magistrate and Deputy Chief Registrar (Legal) at the rock bottom place of No 16, the “Abuja List” places her on a more secure notch of No 6.
Secondly on the “Abuja List”, Mr. Emmanuel Ogundare, another Chief Magistrate and Deputy Chief Registrar (Administration) is placed on No 15, while the “Lagos list” fixes him on the No 9 spot, a disadvantagedly advantageous position! (considering that both Nos 9 and 15 are in the Team B category)
Thirdly, Mrs. Funlola Adesola Odunlami who enjoys the No 9 position on the “Abuja List” is found on No 15 position on the “Lagos list”.
Finally while the “Lagos list” has Mrs. Oyindamola Adesola Ogala on no 6, the “Abuja List” grounds her on the 16th position!
It is interesting to observe that the disagreement in fixtures between the two lists signed by the one and same author, Alabi C.J affects only four persons, three of whom are Magistrates!
In the light of all the above mentioned situations, the Squib wishes to ask these few questions?
1. Is it true that the Governor of Lagos State interfered with the original short-list of names of candidates drawn up by the Lagos State Judicial Service Commission?
2. Can the LSJSC present her minutes of deliberations on the composition of the Short-list of candidates for judicial appointment to debunk the wide-spread information and beliefe that the Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola S.A.N tampered, tinkered and altered the original list of short-listed candidates drawn up by the LSJSC.
3. Is the “Abuja List” genuinely authored by Mr. Justice Alabi?
4. If the answer to the question no3 above is ‘yes’ why did the Chief Judge, Mr. Justice Adetula Alabi author two differently arranged short-lists?
4. Which of the two short-lists (Abuja and Lagos) is valid or are both valid?
Certainly the last of this matter has not been heard!
MRS. IBIRONKE HARRISON: FIT FOR THE BENCH?
Mrs. Ibironke Olatunbosun Harrison, is a well known legal practitioner in Lagos, particularly on the Lagos Island axis.
She is seen by many of her colleagues as a hardworking, amiable and well to do legal practitioner, who is also an ardent Christian with a high level of personal integrity. In fact it was upon the information supplied by some Lagos Island based legal practitioners on Mrs. Harrison to the Squib that we in our last edition espoused her candidacy for judicial appointment in Lagos State as worthy
After making it in the bar, Mrs. Harrison believed to be in her late forties or early fifties, is very much interested in moving up to the bench. In fact not only had she applied for judicial appointment in Lagos State, She has been favourably penciled down by the Lagos State Judicial Service Commission (LSJSC) for a place on the bench. In all of the available short-lists of candidates for judicial appointments by the LSJSC, the lady maintains a no4 position.
However the Squib, in the face of certain heavily damning information and documents (see cover story 2 exhibits) made available to us about Barrister Ibironke Olatubosun Harrison, in the night of Saturday 11th July 2009, now believes that the real place befitting the would be judge is more of a prison yard, than the glorious sanctum of a Judicial Bench.
Presently there are two petitions on the same subject matter to the Nigerian Bar Association and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Mrs. Harrison. In this edition we publish only the petition to the EFCC for lack of space.
The long and short of the petition is that, Mrs. Harrison, without any authorization sold her client’s property located at 24, Iroko Awe Raod, Ikate Olasan, Eti Osa Local Government for #120 million naira to one Architect Solomon Onwukwe of a firm known as Sheltamatics Limited.
Out of the 120 million naira demand, the said Onwukwe paid Mrs. Ibironke Harrison #117,500,000:00 before the deal fell through as Mrs. Harrison could not give the buyer the original documents of the property. In a letter dated 17 October 2008 she pleaded with Mr. Solomon Onwukwe the frustrated purchaser for his understanding and asked for his instructions on how to refund the monies she collected from him.
Some four months after making payment to Mrs. Harrsion, Onwukwe had a meeting in November 2008, with the lawyer and one Mrs. Lucy Abulu the chairman of TONIQUE (NIGERIA) LIMTED the owner company of the property in question. To Onwukwe’s shock, the said Mrs. Abulu denied ever instructing Mrs. Harrison to sell her company’s property and wondered that the lady lawyer could have gone ahead to collect money from Onwukwe on her behalf.
As things stood, the only viable option for Barrister Harrison to do was to make an immediate refund of the #117,500,000:00 she collected from Onwukwe. But that was where Harrison got stuck.
According to our sources, since November 2008 up till date, Harrsion has only managed to cough out only about 98 million naira and this only after incessant demands by Onwukwe and the very occasional threats by the EFCC which has been relatively lenient with her upon her arrest and release on bail.
It is not clear what the Nigerian Bar Association, which has received the petition against Harrison since 11th December 2008 is doing about the lady lawyer, apart from the terse assurance from the General Secretary by way of a letter from the NBA Ibrahim Mark Esq dated 18th December 2008 that the petition is receiving attention and that the complainant’s counsel shall be informed of further developments. (See cover story 2 exhibits).
The Squib learnt authoritatively that the EFCC discovered that Harrison disbursed the money she collected from Onwukwe on purchasing a house for herself in the Lagos Island and had no ready resources to make a snappy refund to Onwukwe.
On Sunday 12th of July 2009 at about 9.30am the Squib placed calls to Mrs. Ibironke Harrison on her G.S.M line for her response to the issues on ground but the calls were not picked up.
This is a clear case of gross unprofessionalism tainted with liberal doses of fraudulent manouevres on the part of a senior member of the bar, now aspiring to become a judge of Lagos State.
The Harrison case poignantly illustrates the dangers inherent in the practice of the appointing authorities of judges of making the appointments a “hush-hush” affair which excludes the contributions and participation of relevant stakeholders and the public except for mere tokenisms.
It is galling that such a practitioner with such an ugly case of professional misconduct and criminal illegal acts like Ibironke Harrison can have the liver to apply for a job of judge in the “Centre of Excellence”.
What is the profession and the country turning to? Or could it be that the Lagos State Judicial Service commission knows of the Harrison situation and yet puts her forward to be appointed a judge?

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