A Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday refused to grant an application moved by Mr Ahmed Raji (SAN), counsel to Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayo Fayose and three others, praying for an interim order to maintain status quo in a suit filed by the plaintiffs against the State House of Assembly’s moves to impeach the governor.
Mr Olugbemi Dele, Ekiti State House of Assembly PDP factional Speaker, the House of Assembly, Fayose and his deputy, Dr Kolapo Olusola, are joined as co-plaintiffs in the suit.
APC factional Speaker of the House of Assembly, Adewale Omirin, the state Chief Judge, Justice Ayodeji Daramola, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Suleiman Abba, and the Independent National Electoral Commission are joined as co-defendants.
Ruling on Raji’s application, Justice Ahmed Mohammed held that since the defendants were ordered by the court to come and show cause why the plaintiffs’ ex-parte application should not be granted, it was unnecessary to grant another order since the defendants were still within time to do so.
He said that parties had the right to file fresh applications before the court for such an order if there was any breach of the peace in the state by either party.
The judge also ruled against Raji’s argument that the defendants were out of time in coming to show cause why the plaintiffs’ prayers should not be granted in obedience to his earlier order.
Justice Mohammed in another ruling, however, agreed with Raji’s submission that Mr Terence Vembe, the counsel to Ekiti State House of Assembly factional Speaker, Dr Adewale Omirin, did not properly enter appearance before the court, having failed to file a written address before the court.
He said that Terence could not enter appearance without properly putting his grounds of argument with a written address in line with Order 26 Rules 13 & 14 of the Federal High Court to enable the plaintiff’s counsel to respond accordingly.
Fayose and co-plaintiffs had via an ex-parte application in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/302/2015, urged the court to grant an order stopping the impeachment proceedings commenced against them by the All Progressives Congress members of the state House of Assembly.
Ruling earlier on the application, the judge had refused to grant it and instead ordered Omirin, the APC factional Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, the state Chief Judge, the Inspector-General of Police and the Independent National Electoral Commission to appear before the court on April 16 to show cause why the plaintiffs’ prayers should not be granted.
He also ordered that the defendants be served through advertisement in a national newspaper and made a separate order that the Chief Judge be served with processes of court through the office of the Chief Registrar of the Ekiti State High Court.
The judge also ordered that hearing notices be issued and served on the Inspector-General of Police and Ekiti State Chief Judge to enter appearance.
He adjourned the case until April 29 for the defendants to come to court to show cause why the prayers of the plaintiffs should not be granted as prayed by them.