An Osun State High Court sitting in Osogbo yesterday ordered Governor Rauf Aregbesola, to within seven days, file all necessary papers to defend himself on why he refused to constitute his cabinet since 2014.
Aregbesola, through his counsel, Fatimo Adesina urged the court to consider the governor’s application on the court’s lack of jurisdiction to hear the case before proceeding to the substantive suit filed by Barrister Kanmi Ajibola on his refusal to appoint commissioners for almost two years since his assumption of office for second term.
Ajibola had challenged Aregbesola’s tactics of deliberately wasting the time of the court by bringing on the issue of jurisdiction when in fact he had instituted his action against the governor since June this year.
“My submission is that this is no longer the law. When the Supreme Court knew that lawyers were using all delayed tactics in the court and for safety of time, which goes to the foundation of fair hearing, the Apex Court said the preliminary objection, whenever raised, should be concurrently taken. Citing the case of Amadi versus NNPC as reported in the NWLR, Part 674 of 2000, Ajibola noted that “what the Supreme Court did at that time was that at the point of judgment delivery, the court will first deal with the preliminary objection before going to the substantive issue”.
Meanwhile, the defence counsel in her counter argument told the court that the position of the law has since changed from what Barrister Ajibola cited, asking the court to hear the issue of jurisdiction first before proceeding to the substantive suit.
According to her, in the Supreme Court case on Ajayi versus Adebiyi, vol. 11, Pages 137 and 202 decided in 2012, stated that it will be out of order for the court not to decide the issue of jurisdiction before venturing into the real matter. In his response, Ajibola told the court that the response of the defendant’s counsel was overdue, saying Aregbesola was already out of time in response to the issue on ground.
The applicant countered the defence counsel, saying the case she cited was different, adding that there was no issue of preliminary objection and time and no defence was filed as well. He asked the court to proceed on the case, adding that the defendant was not interested in the case but was doing everything just to waste the time of the court. In her ruling, the presiding judge, Justice Olayinka Ayoola said the law was so clear in the issue of jurisdiction, and that both the preliminary objection and the originating summons, saying both were going to be handled concurrently.
Justice Ayoola frowned at the time wasting tactics of the defendant, asking the governor’s counsel to file within seven days all necessary documents for the hearing and determination of the case.