PDP Special Convention: Bid to Quash Court Order Suffers Setback
SAN FRANCISCO, July 29, (THEWILL) – The bid by the People's Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday to quash the order of an Abuja High Court restraining it from proceeding with its special convention scheduled for August 31 has suffered a setback.
The case was adjourned to September 23 on Monday when it came up for hearing due to the disagreement over legal representation of the plaintiffs before the court.
When the hearing resumed,counsel to the plaintiffs, Jibrin Okutepa, SAN, who has been representing the plaintiffs - Abba Yale, Yashua Sule and Bashir Maigudu - announced appearance for his clients as usual. But to the chagrin of the court, another counsel, Mr F.N Nwosu, also stood up, announcing appearance for the plaintiffs, saying he had the instruction of the plaintiffs to appear on their behalf.
He disclosed that a letter asking him to represent the plaintiffs had been written and signed by the plaintiffs.
Following the ensuing confusion, the oral application by counsel to the PDP Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, for the discharge of the July 25 restraining order against the special convention was thrown out.
The court held that:"It will be inequitable to discharge the restraining order,based on numerous applications before this court."
While Okutepa maintained that he had not been debriefed by his clients, citing relevant rules of court which he said required compliance before a change of counsel could be effected, Nwosu also stuck to his guns, as he claimed to have been briefed over the weekend.
The court was therefore forced to "stand down" the matter for 30 minutes,for the counsel to sort agree with themselves but when the court reconvened, the two counsel could not agree.
The court was forced to rise for another 30 minutes to enable the judge rule on the embarrassing situation.
Lamenting the embarrassing situation in his ruling, Justice Sulaiman Belgore, said: "It is certainly a trying moment for the legal profession. This thing that has happened would certainly reverberate outside the walls of the court. I'm very sad at this. The legal profession is at a crossroads and my advice to you is that we should leave politicians to play their politics."
Maintaining that he was forced to adjourn to September 23 in view of the validity of Nwosu's appearance coupled with the fact that the third plaintiff declared in open court that Nwosu was his new counsel, Justice belgore wondered why the suit was becoming complicated.