A crisis is brewing in the New Nigeria Peoples Party as the Ogun State chairman of the party, Sunday Oginni and the governorship candidate, Olufemi Oguntoyinbo over the choice of counsel to handle their tribunal matter.

The NNPP had filed a petition before the  Ogun State Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Isabo, Abeokuta, challenging the victory of the All Progressives Congress governorship candidate, Dapo Abiodun on March 18, 2023.

But, the crisis erupted when on Friday Oguntoyinbo called for the change of the party’s counsel in its petition filed at the tribunal.

Some sections of the media had on Friday reported that the tribunal had granted the request of Oguntoyinbo asking the party’s counsel, Peter Ogah, of the Law Firm of Peter Ogah & Partners, to step down from the case.

The NNPP is challenging the alleged omission of the party’s name on the ballot papers for the governorship election by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

This, according to the party, was a violation of the Electoral Act.

The NNPP in an affidavit deposed by the state Chairman, Oginni Olaposi, insisted that the party filed the petition because it was dissatisfied with the outcome of the election.

However, Oguntoyinbo in a motion dated Tuesday, April 11, sought an order of the court to appoint another counsel, Isaac Dale Izunya of Izunya Izunya & Co to take over the case from Peter Ogah of the Law Firm of Peter Ogah & Partners.

But, speaking on the motion, the Secretary of the tribunal, Ezenta Obioma, said the tribunal had yet to commence proceedings on the petitions received.

Although Ezenta said a party had filed a motion requesting a change of counsel, “the Tribunal has not decided on the motion yet.”

Asked when the Tribunal would commence sitting, the Secretary of the Tribunal said, “We are still at the filing stage, so I cannot tell you precisely when the Tribunal is going to commence sitting.”

The state Chairman of NNPP,  however,  denied that the party had changed its counsel, saying  Ogah remained the lawyer appointed by the State Executive Council of the party to pursue its case at the Tribunal.

“I want to confirm to you that, the Ogun State NNPP has not and will never change our counsel who has been doing a very good job for us at the Tribunal.

“He (Ogah) has done the right thing by filing our petition at the appropriate time, so we have a petition that is alive and kicking, filed by Peter Ogah, the counsel approved by the State Executive Council and the Chairman of Ogun State, Comrade Oginni Olaposi Sunday.

“The only petition of NNPP at the Ogun 2023 Governorship Tribunal is deposed of an affidavit by my humble self and therefore there is nobody else that has the power to replace our counsel,” Oginni said.