INEC Delisting: Court Vacates Order As Judge Admit Blunder

Adebayo Alao-Akala

Adebayo Alao-Akala, ex-Oyo State governor

The Federal High Court in Ibadan , Capital of Oyo State today vacated the interim injunction restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from listing Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala as the standard bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo State .

Gov. Adebayo Alao-Akala

This is coming on the heels of the admittance of Justice Johnson Shakarho of the court, of blunder in the ruling.
In his ruling, Justice Shakarho vacated the order, adding that since the plaintiffs and the Akala were seeking elective posts in the PDP, they should go to the INEC to harmonise their positions.
He also stated that the vacation of the order was without prejudice to the contempt proceeding against the governor and the substantive suit in view.
He also pointed out that in the course of presenting a candidate for the governorship, if it was discovered that Akala was wrongly fielded, the natural law will take its course. The court also restrained all the parties to the matter from issuing press statements.
Immediately he vacated the order, Chief Richard Akinjide SAN Counsel to Akala said that he would be challenging the jurisdiction of the court stressing that the court did not have jurisdiction over the case. 
Confused, Justice Shakarho exclaimed: ‘Why bringing this now after I have vacated the interim injunction. The question if this court has jurisdiction would have come first before the vacation of the order’.
In his response, Akinjide said that the court was still in order as it is permitted for the judge to do wrong or right.
Corroborating the position of Akinjide, Akeredolu stated that the judge had done wrong by vacating the order. 
According to Akeredolu, since there is no application before the court for vacation of interim injunction, it was wrong of him to have vacated the order.
He said, ‘It is clear that my lord has done wrong as earlier stated by my learned counsel, chief Akinjide. You are wrong because you have made a rule where there is no application before you ordering for the vacation of the interim injunction.
Earlier, counsel to Dejo Afolabi, the state PDP chairman, Lateef Fagbemui  (SAN) had prayed the court to vacate the order even as he stated that he was not objecting to Akredolu’s applications for his withdrawal from the matter.
In his argument, counsel to the applicant, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) had informed the court that he had filed a notice of discontinuance against the third defendant dated 14 February 2011.
Akeredolu insisted that Fagbemi was no longer a party to the matter.
Akeredolu also said that Yekinni Adeojo, Hazeem Gbolarunmi and Elder Wole Oyelese, 1st, 2nd and 3rd applicants respectively were governorship aspirants of the PDP stressing that the 4th defendant (Akala) could not benefit from his own illegality. 
He went on further to argue that the action brought against Afolabi had been withdrawn. Akeredolu hinged the withdrawal of the Afolabi to order 50 rule 2 of the Federal High Court Rules. He also said the 3rd defendant was not eligible to participate in the contempt proceeding against the 4th defendant.
However, mixed-reactions trailed the ruling, as supporters of both parties discussed the ruling in groups outside the premises of the court.
In a chat with newsmen, Akeredolu disclosed that the applicant would go on appeal.
Justice Shakarho adjourned to February 21 2011 for further hearing of the matter.
However the state Deputy Governor, Taofeek Arapaja and the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Olayiwola Olakojo’s faces were expressionless as they left the court premises.

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By Gbenro Adesina/Ibadan