A Federal High Court sitting in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State on Thursday commenced the trial of the suit filed by a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State, Mr Michael Akinleye, against former Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi over his appointment as the Deputy National Chairman (South) by the party’s National Working Committee (NWC).
The suit with registration number FHC/AD/C8/8/2020 filed by one of the aspirants for the seat and APC chairman in Ado Ekiti Local Government, Akinleye, was contending the propriety of the action taken by the APC National Working Committee’s appointment of Ajimobi via alleged imposition.
Joined in the suit are APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole (1st respondent), National Working Committee (2nd), National Vice Chairman, South West (3rd), APC South-West Zonal Caucus (4th), Ekiti State Chairman of APC (5th), Ekiti State Caucus of APC (6th), All Progressives Congress (7th) and Senator Abiola Ajimobi (8th).
The seat became vacant following the appointment of Otunba Niyi Adebayo as a Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, which brought the feeling by Ekiti APC that Senator Gbenga Aluko should be allowed to fill the vacancy in respect of the party’s micro-zoning rather than moving it to Oyo State.
During Thursday’s proceeding, Oshiomhole, Ajimobi and other respondents, with the exception of 5th and 6th, were absent in court, but they were represented by their lawyer, Chief Tony Adeniyi.
In the originating summon filed by lawyer, Taiwo Omidoyin, the applicant sought an interlocutory order stopping the party from either announcing or appointing Ajimobi pending the determination of the suit.
He urged the court to restrain the 8th respondent (Ajimobi) from parading himself as the Deputy National Chairman.
Akinleye urged the court to determine among other things whether his rights had not been abridged as an aspirant looking up to the election to elect the Deputy National Chairman before Ajimobi was suddenly imposed.
But in the preliminary objection filed by Adeniyi, who is representing all the respondents with the exemption of 5th and 6th, contended that the court lacks the jurisdiction to hear the matter and that the suit be dismissed on this premise.
The hearing of the preliminary objection could not be argued because the lawyer to the applicant said he had not been properly served to be able to respond appropriately.
Omidoyin argued that “I need some time to file a counter affidavit to the Notice of Preliminary objection raised by the respondents. We are seeking for time to react appropriately to all the issues raised therein.
“All we are praying for is time to react appropriately. The reason why we didn’t react to them was that we were not sure about who is representing the 5th and 6th respondents/defendants in the case and now that we have got the clarification, we can now respond.
“Another confusion is that Chief Adeniyi didn’t respond to our originating summon. We are confused about the cause, maybe it was an omission or whether he was not served,” he said.
The counsel to the respondents didn’t object to adjournment sought by the counsel to the applicant.
The presiding Judge, Justice U. N. Agoma, in her brief ruling adjourned the case to March 23 for hearing of the pending applications.