At the Federal High in Abuja Kogi State Governor, Captain Ibrahim Wada cleared the first hurdle as he won the first round of the legal battle seeking to remove him from office by two other chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
The governor defeated his two opponents, Mr. Oyebode Makinde and Alhaji Jibril Isa popularly known as Echocho in the consolidated suits as the court agreed to hear the motion for stay of proceedings separately from the main suit.
In the court ,Justice Donatus Okorowo held that since governor Wada was not challenging the jurisdiction of the court but the consolidation of the two cases, it was incumbent on the court to hear the motion for stay of proceeding outside the substantive matter.
The Judge disagreed with Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, Counsel to Jibril Isah and Dr. Alex Izinyon SAN, Counsel to Oyebode Makinde that both the motion for stay of proceeding and the main case be heard altogether.
Justice Okorowo agreed with Chief Chris Uche SAN, Counsel to Governor Wada that it was motion challenging the jurisdiction of a court that can be heard along with the main suit.
The court held that since governor Wada was not challenging court jurisdiction but consolidation, his motion for stay of proceeding must first be heard.
Moving the motion for stay of the proceeding, the governor’s counsel asked the court to stop hearing of the case pending the time the Court of Appeal would make pronouncement on his challenge to the merger of the two cases.
Chief Uche told the court that he had filed notice of appeal at the Court of Appeal against the consolidation of the two cases against him. He told the court that both Makinde and Isha came to court and filed their cases differently at different dates.
He contended that what Alhaji Jibril Isha ought to have done when Makinde first filed his suit was to apply for a joinder as an interested party in a same issue; adding that filing a separate suit indicated that he wanted to be heard separately.
He then submitted that both Makinde and Isha have nothing to lose if the stay of proceeding was granted.
However counsel to Jibril Isa, Chief Wole Olanipekun vehemently objected to granting of stay of the proceeding adding that the governor had failed to meet all conditions under which a stay of proceeding could be granted.
Olanipekun argued that stay of proceeding was not automatic and that it was a ploy by the governor to delay and frustrate early hearing of the case.
The position of Olanipekun was corroborated by Alex Izinyon who argued that the motion for stay did not show any exceptional ground upon which a stay of proceeding could be granted. He then asked the court to refuse to stay the proceeding . Justice Okorowo after hearing the counsels fixed March 28 for ruling on whether to say proceeding or not.
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