At the resumed hearing on Thursday, August 22, 2019, Counsel to the plaintiffs, Mr. Frank Okiye, the Clerk of Edo State House of Assembly and others, Sylvanus Ugwu Esq from Ola Olanipekun Law Firm, told the presiding judge, Justice Nkeonye Maha, that his clients have decided to withdraw the case – suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/815/2019.
It will be recall that Speaker Okiye, along with the Clerk and his 11 colleagues filed the suit to stop the National Assembly from taking over the state assembly functions on July 23, 2019.
Specifically, they asked the Federal High Court, Abuja, to restrain the Senate and the House of Representatives from going ahead with their plans pending the determination of the matter.
However, the dynamics of the political struggle changed, when the National Assembly declined to carry out their threat due to pressure from opinion leaders and legal restrictions.
The respondents in the Abuja suit were the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori, and NASS.
In one of the sittings, counsel to the plaintiffs, Ola Olanipekun, SAN, reported the defendants, that, despite the court order, the Senate on July 30, went ahead to pass a resolution for the takeover of the assembly if the governor failed to comply with its resolution. The judge reminded parties of the early prevailing order and adjourned to August 7 for hearing.
On return in August 7, the presiding judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, ordered all parties to maintain status quo ante bellum pending the determination of the suit.
“The order was informed by the apprehension expressed by lawyer to the plaintiffs, Ola Olanipekun, SAN, who said there were threats by the respondents to tamper with the subject of the dispute.” He explained.
The substantive suut was subsequiently adjourned to yesterday, August 22, 2019.
Unexpectedly, counsel to Okiye and co., informed the court of their decision to discontinue the suit.
The counsel to the 1st and 2nd respondents, Henrietta Emedem, affirmed the position of plaintiff, but however, demanded for cost. The judge refused her request.
The news of the sudden outcome of the legal tussle between the National Assembly and Edo State House of Assembly was greeted with confusion by politicians in Edo State.
In the circumstance, Midwest Herald can authoritatively report that, the action taken by the plaintiff was strategically designed to streamline the number of court actions that were filed during the spiraling crises.
A reliable source clarified the House decision to Midwest Herald.
According to him, “…yes, it’s one of the numerous cases, there are enough to sustain the struggle and establish justice and the Rule of Law.
“We are stronger on our ground in upholding the rule on the law in the constitution. Withdrawing the one in Abuja has nothing to do with strength of the case.” The source said.
Before approaching the Abuja Court, the plaintiff had secured the reprieve of the Federal High Court in Benin. This and other suits instituted by Speaker Okiye and others are still pending in the various courts.