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Suspension: Atiku knows fate Oct 31

Posted by From GODWIN TSA, Abuja on 2006/10/26 | Views: 1052 |

Suspension: Atiku knows fate Oct 31


An Abuja High Court has fixed October 31, 2006 to deliver its ruling on the preliminary objection raised by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against the suit instituted by Vice President Atiku Abubakar, challenging his suspension from the party over alleged anti – party activities.

An Abuja High Court has fixed October 31, 2006 to deliver its ruling on the preliminary objection raised by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against the suit instituted by Vice President Atiku Abubakar, challenging his suspension from the party over alleged anti – party activities.

Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi set the date after listening to arguments by both parties as to the validity or otherwise of the suit.
Moving the objections, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), counsel to the PDP, asked the court to strike out Atiku’s suit on the ground that it was a "hostile" action.

Babalola, who prayed the court to consider all processes and documents filed before it in reaching its decision, said it does not matter whether those documents were referred to by counsel in reaching a decision whether it has jurisdiction to hear the case or not.

"It is therefore beyond arguments that your Lordship is enjoined to look at the processes already before this honourable court in resolving our objection," he said.

He faulted the commencement of the Plaintiff’s action by originating summons on the ground that his complaint was that he was not given fair hearing before he was suspended.

"Where a plaintiff alleges that the defendant has failed to give him fair hearing, or has failed to give him opportunity to present his case before he was suspended, it is not a proper case to be commenced by originating summons," he submitted.

"Indeed, it is ipso facto, one that requires oral evidence from the plaintiff putting the court into the picture of how the defendant treated him amounted to lack of fair hearing," he submitted.
He further submitted that "what amounts to fair hearing can only be arrived at by court of law after taking evidence".

The PDP’s counsel also submitted that it is an internal affair of PDP, which the plaintiff cannot rightly invite the court to meddle into.

He added that all the condition precedent to the Plaintiff bringing an action against the party had not been complied with as provided by Section 21(2) of the PDP Constitution.

Reacting to Babalola’s proposition, Iziyon (SAN), argued that the procedure adopted by PDP in arguing their objection has the tendency of asking the court to consider the substantive suit.

"Where the preliminary objection has metamorphosed into including the counter affidavit, the written address and the affidavit in support of the originating summons, it is a very dangerous invitation, an alluring carrot that can lead the court to make pronouncement on the substantive suit," Iziyon submitted.
He added: "I urge my lord to restrict the objection to the issue of law and refuse the alluring carrot being offered by the defendants /applicants."

He rejected the submission by Babalola that the Plaintiff’s action was hostile, contending that "no issue of fact that is hostile by definition has been raised."

The Plaintiff’s counsel rejected the submission that the Vice President had not exhausted the internal remedies within the party to address his grievance over his suspension before going to court.
"My lord, what internal remedy is left to the Plaintiff when the Supreme Court of the PDP has suspended him?"

"There is no internal remedy and the plaintiff has just explored his unfettered right to the court as constitutionally provided to seek redress," he submitted.

He argued that in the face of a complaint of denial of fair hearing, "the court can entertain that action irrespective of what form the action was brought, be it writ of summons, motion on notice or originating summons."

Iziyon urged the court to discountenance the Defendants’ preliminary objection and go into the substantive matter.

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