Ondo guber Suit: Court assures of accelerated hearing

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An Abuja Federal High Court has resolved to speedily rule on the suit filed by a governorship contestant of the All Progressives Congress,

Dr. Segun Abraham, against the Ondo State governor, Chief Rotimi Akeredolu, in the interest of justice.

Presiding judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, gave the assurance over the weekend as he adjourned in the suit pending the determination of an appeal on substituted service pending at the Supreme Court.

Justice Dimgba said, “I can assure you of accelerated hearing and due justice in this suit once the Supreme Court gives its ruling.

“I will hear parties within a day and deliver judgement within 21 days of hearing. I want to ensure that this case leave my docket without any delay whatsoever.”

 Abraham is challenging the suitability of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu as APC candidate in the November 26, 2016 governorship poll.

 When the matter came up, counsel to Abraham, Prof.  Ojo Amupitan, informed the court that the ruling of the court on substituted service was affirmed by the Court of Appeal, but that the respondents had appealed to the Supreme Court while they (plaintiffs) had also cross-appealed to the Supreme Court too.

 He, however, urged the court to consider his motion which he filed on July 21, 2017 before the court went vacation.

But counsel to Governor Akeredolu and Chief John Oyegun  (1st and 3rd defendants), Mr. Murtala Abdulrasheed, urged the court to use its discretion to adjourn the case till the Supreme Court decides on the appeals.

Abraham, through an ex parte motion, prayed the court to declare the process that produced Akeredolu as governorship candidate of APC as illegal.

 The suit also sought an interim order to prevent the INEC from presenting Akeredolu as the party flagbearer pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice already filed in the suit.

 Abraham, who joined the APC National Chairman, John Oyegun, and the INEC as defendants, erected his case on the ground that the election did not conform with the constitution of the party and guidelines set for the primaries.

 Before the governorship election, the then presiding judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba ordered Akeredolu to come and show cause (reason) why an interim order restraining INEC from recognising him as the candidate of APC should not be granted.

 But Akin Olujimi, leading a team of 28 lawyers to defend the governor, argued that counsel to Abraham had not served him with the orders of the court requiring the defendants to come and show cause. Olujimi averred that because service was not effected, the hearing could not go on.

 But the court dismissed the preliminary objections, ruling that the application for interim injunction sought by Abraham had merit.

 Not satisfied with the ruling of the court, Akeredolu approached the Appeal Court, asking it to set aside the ruling of the lower court. But the court dismissed the appeal and a stay of proceedings application filed by the governor, saying it lacked merit.

 The court also ordered the governor to put up a defence as one of the respondents to the suit marked FHC/ABJ / CS/788/2016 at the Federal High Court in Abuja. It held that the service of originating summons filed by Abraham to the APC National Secretariat in connection with the contentious primary instead of Akeredolu was proper.

 Abraham, who hailed the ruling, described it as a quit notice to Akeredolu and an indication that democracy was maturing in the country.

 Akeredolu, however, headed for the Supreme Court to challenge the decision of the Court of Appeal that validated the service of originating summons to the APC National Secretariat instead of the governor.

Speaking to The Point after Tuesday’s adjournment at the Abuja High Court, counsel to Abraham, Professor Amupitan, said using delay tactics was not in the interest of either party as early resolution of the matter would make the people of Ondo state know who their governor is, adding that no matter the delay, the D-day would come.

Last modified on Tuesday, 24 October 2017 07:40

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