By Ismaeel Uthman
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has vacated its order stopping the conduct of elections into the Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) and withholding Local Government Allocations in the state of Osun.
The court had on December 4, 2017 ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria, Accountant General of the Federation and Ministry of Finance to warehouse statutory allocations to the local government councils in the state, as prayed by three members of the Peoples Democratic Party in a Motion Exparte.
The PDP members, Chief Kolawole Osunkemitan, Chief Douglas Adeyinka Oyinlola and Prince Aderemi Adeniran Adelowo had approached the court with an application for the stoppage of monies for the local government in the state.
Contesting the court order, the state government filed an application before the court with a prayer for the vacation of the order.
In his ruling on Wednesday, January 24, 2018, Justice John Tosho of the court held that the interim order earlier granted restraining the holding of elections into the LCDAs and withholding Local Government Allocations has lapsed by effusion of time.
Justice Tosho also upheld the contention of the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, Dr. Ajibola Basiru that the orders were made upon the earlier ex parte application heard on November 27, 2017.
The court further held that they were caught by the provision of Order 26, Rule 12 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules which provides that an order granted upon an ex parte application will lapse where a person affected by the orders filed as application to discharge and/or vary the orders and the application is not heard within fourteen (14) days of filing.
According to the court, Osun State Government being the 7th Defendant filed an application to discharge the orders made on 4th of December 2017 and it was not in contention that the application has not been heard within 14 days.
Justice Tsoho therefore held that that the interim orders of injunction has lapsed and therefore there is no extant court order.
The court disagreed with the plaintiffs lawyer, Chief Clarke, SAN that the motion ex parte had been converted to motion on Notice.
The Court held that the term of its orders and Order 26, Rules 10 and 17 is against the argument of plaintiffs’ counsel.
In view of the pending objection to service by the Osun House of Assembly and Osun Independent Electoral Commission sued respectively as 8th and 9th Defendants, the Court ordered that the Plaintiff properly serve the 8th and 9th Respondents.
In consequence, counsel to the 8th Respondent, Rachel Ojimi and 9th Respondent, Dr. A.I. Layonu SAN withdrew the preliminary objection earlier filed to complain about improper service.
The plaintiffs’ counsel also applied to withdraw Motion on Notice for orders of Interlocutory injunction it filed and the court struck out the applications.
The court adjourned to 12th March 2018 for further hearing.