NGF: Court strikes out suit against Jang

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FasholaAN Abuja High Court, on Thursday, struck out a suit seeking to determine the authentic winner of the May 25 contentious Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) election.

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The governor of Lagos State, Raji Fashola SAN, has dragged his counterpart from Plateau State, Jonah Jang, before the court.
The striking out of the suit followed an earlier application for discontinuance brought by the plaintiff.

Fashola had, through his counsel, Professor Yemi Osibanjo, SAN, approached the court on May 31, via a writ of summons, seeking an order of the court to restrain the Plateau State governor and claimant to the chairmanship of the forum, Jonah Jang, from parading himself as such.

He had contended that the governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, won the May 25 poll, having scored 19 votes, to beating Jang, who was said to have pulled 16 votes.

The suit, however, took a new dimension when Osibanjo brought a fresh application for discontinuance/withdrawal while the court was still sitting over the interlocutory application.

Although the motion for discontinuance was opposed by counsel for Jang, Tayo Oyetibo, SAN, and Paul Erokoro,SAN, counsel for Osaro Onaiwu, who is the third defendant.

Their respective opposition, which was upheld by the presiding judge, Justice Peter Affen, was to the effect that leave must be sought and obtained first, before an application for withdrawal could be commenced.

Consequent upon a proper application for discontinuance filed on July 16, Osibanjo prayed the court to strike out the suit, submitting that it was the right of the plaintiff to decide at any stage to discontinue his case.

He further submitted that it was not the business of counsel for the defendants to preempt the plaintiff’s next step, more so that the matter was still at its preliminary stage.

In opposition to Osibanjo’s contention, however, Oyetibo and Erokoro urged the court to discountenance the plaintiff’s call and proceed to dismiss the suit.

In his ruling, Justice Peter Affen agreed with the position of Fashola that the suit be struck out, rather than an outright dismissal.

He held that “the law is trite that a plaintiff can discontinue or withdraw his claim against the defendants,” whenever he deems appropriate.

“Having carefully evaluated the arguments, the stage at which the plaintiff applied to withdraw this suit is one in which no evidence has been given.

“As a matter of fact, the case has not been fixed for trial and the proper order to make when it is discovered that the plaintiff lacks the locus standi to institute an action, is one of striking out.

“It seems to me that the order to make in the circumstance, is to strike out the suit and not to dismiss it. Same is accordingly struck out.”


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Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsolahttps://naija247news.com
Babatunde Akinsola is aNaija247news' Southwest editor. He's based in Lagos and writes on the Yoruba Nation political issues, news and investigative reports

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