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Just In: Two Senior Advocates withdraw from Edeoga Legal Team

By Beatrice Nweze

Two senior lawyers have withdrawn their legal services to the Labour Party governorship candidate, Chijioke Edeoga.

One of the lawyers in Edeoga’s legal team who pleaded anonymity, had today disclosed that the two Senior Advocates, Alexander Ejesieme and Eyitayo Fatogun withdrew their services to Mr. Chijioke Edeoga on the ground that their appearance fees and other financial benefits which they are entitled to have not been paid since the resumption of the matter at the Enugu State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.

According to him, the majority of the lawyers who have been handling the case for Chijioke Edeoga and the Labour Party have not received their financial benefits since the matter began and had been threatening withdrawal, even before the two lawyers finally made their exit, arguing that there was never a time they agreed on pro bono cases (free of charge).

He went further to say that though some members of the legal team had not received their money, the situation got messier when they had a meeting with Chijioke Edeoga and the Labour Party executive members regarding the issue of not getting the accurate codes of the BVAS machines from Nkanu East while issuing a subpoena to the Independent National Electoral Commission for the machines to be brought to the tribunal for inspection. He said that the mistake which was inadvertently made caused serious injury to their matter as they failed to prove the evidence of the election rigging in Nkanu East and some parts of the Udenu local government area as claimed. This made them seize some of the financial benefits they should have received from Edeoga and the Labour Party.

The two senior lawyers were said to have in a meeting yesterday with the Labour Party officials and the candidate of the Labour Party, Edeoga, presented their withdrawal letters to the floor and walked away.

“The truth is that in our team currently there is trouble. Many lawyers have not received their money since the matter commenced at the tribunal. Only very few, lead counsel, Awomolo and Mrs Azinge (SAN) were paid. Others have threatened to quit but the lead counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo has been calming most of us down, stating that efforts are being made to pay everyone. I don’t know how you will be rendering services to someone and you will not be paid in this kind of high economic condition of the country.

“Just yesterday, two of our senior counsel withdrew from the team. They expressed disappointment and how the governorship candidate treated his lawyers. Since the mistake of not identifying the BVAS codes correctly was made, the governorship candidate has been ignoring meetings with his legal team. He doesn’t have to lose hope because it is not over until it is over. The tribunal has not given its judgment and he has already lost hope. It is true that the BVAS codes were not accurately captured in the subpoena but the team acted based on the information that was given to us by our client. Let’s watch until the judgment comes out but he should endeavour to pay us because we are ready to fight this battle to the Supreme Court,” our source had said.

Meanwhile, our source said that the Labour Party and all the respondents are expected to adopt their final written addresses on August, 16, 2023, after which the tribunal will communicate the date for the final judgment to the parties.

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