The embattled Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Adewale Omirin, has asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to strike out a suit freshly filed to stop the moves by the 19 members of the All Progressives Congress in the state House of Assembly to remove Governor Ayodele Fayose.
Justice Evoh Chukwu on Monday fixed May 21 for hearing in the notice of preliminary objection filed in opposition to the suit by Ominrin’s lawyer, Mr. Terence Vembe.
The plaintiffs in the suit, FHC/ABJ/CS/3612015, are the seven Peoples Democratic Party members in the House of Assembly – Dele Olugbemi, Ajibola Oyedele, Israel Olowo, Alex Ojo, Adeyinka Adeloye, Adunni Olayinka and Ayoka Fatunmbi.
The defendants are the Inspector General of Police, the embattled Speaker of the House of Assembly, Omirin and 21 others.
The judge had, on April 23, 2015, made an order of interim injunction directing Omirin and the 22 other defendants in the suit to appear in court to show cause why the court should not grant an order of interim injunction restraining them from going ahead with the plan to remove the governor and his deputy, Kolapo Olusola.
But on Monday only Omirin (the 2nd defendant) and the Clerk of the Ekiti State House of Assembly (the 21st defendant) were represented by their lawyers in court.
Vembe told Justice Chukwu during the proceedings that his client (Omirin) was not bound to obey the court’s order made on April 23 because the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
He said he had filed a notice of preliminary objection anchored on the grounds that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case because the leave of the court was not sought as provided for in section 97 of Sheriffs and Civil Processes Act.
Meanwhile, the plaintiffs’ counsel, Mr. Ahmed Raji (SAN), had earlier asked the court to proceed to grant the order of interim injunction since none of the defendants had any counter-affidavit showing cause why it should not be granted.
He argued that the defendants had disobeyed the order of court directing them to do so.
The counsel representing the Clerk of the House of Assembly, Mr. D. Owolabi, sought for time to file his counter-affidavit.
But Vembe said his client was not entitled to file such counter-affidavit since he was challenging the court’s jurisdiction.
The court then opted to hear Vembe’s notice of preliminary objection before taking any further step in the suit.
It will be recalled that Fayose, his deputy and other plaintiffs, had last Wednesday withdrawn a similar suit which he filed ahead of the one before Justice Chukwu.
Fayose and his deputy are not part of the plaintiffs in the fresh suit.
Justice Chukwu, after adjourning the matter on Monday, clarified that he did not make any restraining order on April 23.
But he said that ordinarily by the virtue of a previous Supreme Court judgment, parties ought not to take any further step concerning the case once a case is filed with regards to it in court.
The judge had, on April 23, refused to set aside the impeachment process but ordered that parties should maintain status quo as of that day.