Court Halts Further Hearing in Suit to Unseat Obaseki

Admin 15-Dec-2020 Nigeria_News

Tolu Omoboyowa

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, has adjourned sine die (indefinitely) proceedings in a suit filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and a member, Edobor Williams. 

The suit is asking the court to, among others, sack Godwin Obaseki as Governor, Edo State.

The plaintiffs, in the suit marked: FHC/B/CS/74/2020, originally filed in the court’s Benin division before the last governorship election in Edo, are querying Obaseki’s academic qualification and want the court to disqualify him for lacking minimum qualifications for the office.

In a ruling on Tuesday, Justice Ahmed Mohammed granted a request by Obaseki’s lawyer, Ken Mozia (SAN), for an indefinite adjournment to enable the Court of Appeal determine an application for stay, pending appeal filed by Mozia.

He explained he would have proceeded, as argued by lawyer to the plaintiff, Akin Olujinmi (SAN) if it was only an interlocutory appeal that was pending before the Court of Appeal.

The judge said he would await the decision of Court of Appeal on the application for stay and was ready to proceed with the case should the appellate court so direct.

Justice Mohammed clarified that not only has the appeal filed by Obaseki, against the court’s earlier ruling on how it intended to proceed in the case, been entered at the appellate court, he also filed an application for stay of proceedings pending the determination of the appeal.

Justice Mohammed said would not want his court to be at loggerheads with the Court of Appeal, adding he would therefore prefer to await the decision of the appellate court on the application for stay of further proceedings.

The judge said none of the parties drew his attention to any authority that allows a trial court to continue to conduct proceedings when an application for stay of proceedings and appeal against its decision were pending before the appellate court.

Shortly after the ruling of Justice Muhammed, Olujinmi said parties would be before the Court of Appeal on Wednesday in respect of the application for stay of proceedings filed by Obaseki.

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