Court orders PDP to pay lawyer N10.5m

Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu

Alhaji Adamu Mu'azu: national chairman of PDP

Henry Ojelu

Alhaji Adamu Mu'azu: national chairman of PDP
Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu: national chairman of PDP

Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye of a Lagos State High Court in Ikeja, today ordered the Lagos State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to pay N10.5 million professional fees to a legal practitioner, Mr Debo Adeleke.

Ipaye who gave the order in a summary judgment delivered today also ordered the party to pay a N50,000 cost in favour of the claimant.

Adeleke had dragged both the national headquarters and Lagos State branch of the PDP to court their failure to pay him his outstanding legal fees.

Since the matter commenced in February, only the national leadership of the party was represented by a counsel, Mr Chukwuma Nmesirionye.

Drawing the court’s attention to the development, the claimant’s counsel, Mr Benson Akeredolu, in an application dated 6 October, said the Lagos state PDP had been served with all the processes but chose not to respond.

Akerodolu therefore urged the court to enter into a summary judgment against the state PDP.

In her ruling, the judge held that the second defendant (Lagos PDP) breached the provisions of Order 11 Rule 4 of the High Court of Lagos State Civil Procedure Rules.

She noted that the proof of service before the court showed that the party was served with the court processes but refused to file its response to the claimant’s affidavit.

Ipaye said the non-compliance with the court rules showed that the party was not interested in defending the suit.

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She said the court was more than satisfied with the totality of the unchallenged facts of the claimant and therefore entered judgment in his favour.

The judge ordered the Lagos PDP to pay the sum of N10,550,000 to Adeleke as outstanding legal fees at an annual interest rate of 10 per cent.

It will be recalled that Adeleke had sued the PDP for failing to pay the balance of his legal fees after he had made 180 representations for the party.

His counsel had argued that he handled seven cases for the PDP at the Lagos State Local Government Elections Petitions Tribunal between November 2011 and August 2012.

He said that the party only paid Adeleke N1.45 million out of the N12 million agreed fees for the handling of the cases.

However, Nmesirionye had urged the court to dismiss the suit. Nmesirionye had argued that the claimant was not instructed to take up the cases by the national leadership of the PDP.

According to him, Article 22(2) of the PDP states that the party shall only have legal relationship with any person only through its national officers.

He said that none of the correspondences tendered by Adeleke was between the national headquarters of the party and the claimant.

Nmesirionye said the Lagos State PDP had the power to instruct lawyers, adding that there was no need to drag the national headquarters into the matter.

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