Ede, Osun State born billionaire Deji Tajudeen Adeleke is one of the influential Nigerians with loaded purses. The home front of the easy- going chap is, however, currently experiencing turbulent weather.
The younger brother to Senator Isiaka Adeleke instituted a case at the State High Court, Ede seeking to severe the marital vow he had with Mrs. Margaret Adeteju Adeleke. Though the suit was filed in March 2013, proceedings didn’t start until June 2013.
Former Attorney-General of Osun State, Barrister Wale Afolabi stood for the petitioner while Barrister Kemi Pinhero stood for the respondent.
The case obviously took the attention and time of the top businessman and Deji in his inner mind apparently prayed it ended quickly as he had to register presence everyday. At the court, Deji would sit and maintain a calm posture, no exchange of banters or cracking of jokes, he readily gave the impression of being a gentle man. His jeep, a Benz product and the white Hilux jeep for his escort also maintained a permanent space at the car park.
Dramatic scenes were enacted at the sitting at different times, at the sitting on 16th November, 2015. Barrister Wale Afolabi argued for the continuation of proceedings while Pinhero objected to such and he advanced points for the need to step down other issues relating to the case pending the determination and consideration of the motion he filed against the Judge.
Kemi Pinhero, SAN had in the motion dated 16th November 2015 levelled allegations of bias against the judge, in the said motion, Pinhero questioned the Judge’s ability to perform his constitutional functions and hold an even scale between the parties. In presenting a set of facts and arguments for the propriety of treating the motion, he cited Supreme Court cases of Ebodagbe versus Okoye and Adebesin Versus the State of 2004 and 2014, others are that of Osayomi versus the State in 2007 at the Court of Appeal and Seplat Petroleum Development versus Brittalia – U Nigeria Ltd of 2014 at the Supreme Court in which issues of jurisdiction and allegation of bias took precedent over other matters.
He therefore vehemently advanced points for the need for the motion to be heard first.
Justice A. O. Ogunlade had before proceeding started adjourned four cases listed for his attention and gave reasons that lawyers in the other cases are residents in Osun while those involved in the divorce case would have to return to Lagos hence his decision to adjourn other cases.
Reasons for his decision were, however, punctured by the Lawyer to the respondent and he also cited it as another ground of proving allegation of bias and alleged personal interest against the Judge.
Pinhero wondered why a divorce case listed and a land case of 2010 should be adjourned to hurriedly single out the Adeleke/Margaret’s case for consideration and that matrimony cases should not ordinarily earn fast track status above land matters. He also expressed surprise that the gallery was cleared before the proceedings began. Barrister Wale Afolabi in his submission, however, argued that the proceedings could continue and that the fresh motion by the Lawyer to the respondent wasn’t properly handled and that if he wanted it on record, he should have made an affidavit and that oral submission for reasons for application for the motion could not be allowed. Afolabi also made reference to the presence of journalists in the Court as a way of registering point that other people were allowed entry into the court. The visibly worried Judge interjected and asked that the journalists should stand up to be identified and as soon as his order was complied with, he ordered them out of the Court and shouted at the top of his voice that police should ensure they are led out of the court premises.
Relatives of both parties who arrived minutes later also had a taste of the judge’s hostility as he gave an order that nobody should be allowed entry into the Court; they were later allowed into the court after being identified as non-journalists.
The judge later adjourned the case to 17th November, 2015 while the judge eventually delivered his ruling on 19th November and dissolved the union. The sitting on Thursday, 19th November was not also without drama as the judge again ordered journalists out of court. On entering the court, Oguntade said, ‘Journalists present in this court should go out. I repeat, journalists present in this court should go out now before…’
The judge thereafter asked his police orderly to escort the journalists out and the orderly handed down the order to a senior police officer, Adeoye Yekini, who led a team of armed policemen deployed to the court purposely for the divorce case.
Meanwhile, we exclusively learnt that the respondent is planning to challenge the rulings at an appellate court while her legal team are also perfecting and putting final touches to petitions against the judge. It has been rain of outrage and expression of shock that a judge could order journalists out of the court and also hastily deliver his ruling.
A source who witnessed the ugly episode lamented the fate of the poor in the society and what has been their lot.
‘It is too clear that the rich would always have their way and get things done in this country; how would a judge who is accused of being biased give judgment without having the respondent cross examined? Why would he order journalists out of his court on two instances? Why would the case be heard in Ede when the two persons involved got married in Lagos? The source asked?
A legal practitioner who begged for anonymity, however, spoke in defence of the judge and defended his action in getting the gallery cleared and for not allowing journalists to be present at the proceeding.
‘Unless he has any other motive, the judge could use his discretion and clear the gallery when a matrimonial case is being heard because of the sensitive and personal revelations that would come from the parties involved ditto for juvenile cases which would not even be done in the chamber because the person involved is considered a minor’, he said.
In the neighbouring Kwara State, the divorce infection caught up with a hotelier Fatahi Amir. The Abuja based Customs officer owns the popular Amir Suites and Amir Event Center in Adewole Estate, Ilorin. The Ogbomoso born dude is not only in court for divorce; the ownership of the multi-million naira hospitality outfit is also in contest with the estranged wife. The genesis of the frosty relationship is traced to the decision of Fatahi to pick a new wife who is said to be of a northern extraction. The couple managed to live above the unease for weeks before things finally fell apart. A source disclosed that the woman locked out the Big Boy from their Adewole Estate mansion, an action that earned his odium and he not only got the police involved but also ordered her packing. The union produced four children and one of them is a student of al-Hikmah University. As it is, at the moment, there does not seem to be end in sight in the rift between Deji and Margaret on the one hand and Fatahi and his wife on the other hand. We shall keep you posted as events unfold.