28th March, 2012
Kogi state Governor, Captain Idris Wada on Wednesday secured an upper hand in the legal tussle to oust him from office following a stay of proceedings granted by a Federal High Court in a twin suit instituted by two stalwarts of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state.
The court granted the governor’s application to stop further proceedings in the matter pending the determination of his appeal challenging the powers of the court to consolidate the twin suits separately filed by Mr. Oyebode Makinde and Mr. Jibrin Isah Echocho challenging his nomination as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party,PDP.
Governor Wada through his counsel, Mr. Chris Uche, a senior advocate of Nigeria, asked the court to grant a stay of proceedings pending the determination of his two appeals before the court of appeal.
In granting the application Justice Okorowo stated that once a lower court is seized of a pending appeal before a higher court, the case in the lower court has to be stayed.
Wada had earlier won the first round of the legal battle seeking to remove him from office by the two leaders of the party in the state.
He defeated his two opponents, Oyebode Makinde and Alhaji Jibril Isha Echocho in the consolidated suits as the court agreed to hear the motion for stay of proceedings separately from the main suit.
Justice Okorowo held that since the governor 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 Wole Olanipekun SAN, counsel to Isah and Dr. Alex Izinyon SAN, counsel to Makinde that both the motion for stay of proceeding and the main case be heard together.
Justice Okorowo agreed with Mr. Uche, that it was a motion challenging the jurisdiction of a court that can be heard along with the main suit. 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.
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 contended that both Makinde and Isa came to court and filed their cases differently at different dates and that what Isah ought to have done when Makinde first filed his suit was to apply for to join as an interested party in the same issue.
He added that filing a separate suit indicated that he wanted to be heard separately.
Uche further submitted that both Makinde and Isah have nothing to lose if the stay of proceeding was granted.
However, counsel to Isah, 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.
This position 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.
In granting the application for stay, the court adjourned till 25 October for report of proceedings at the appeal court.
By Nnamdi Felix / Abuja