Elevation of chiefs: Ajimobi’s counsel deny ploy to delay trial in Ladoja’s suit

The Osi Olubadan and a former governor of the state, Senator Rashidi Ladoja
The Osi Olubadan and a former governor of the state, Senator Rashidi Ladoja

COUNSEL to Senator Abiola Ajimobi, the Oyo state governor, Kenneth Eleja (SAN) from the chambers of Yusuf Alli, on Wednesday denied any ploy to delay trial in a suit filed by the Osi Olubadan of Ibadan land and former governor in the state, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, before a State High court sitting at Ring road in Ibadan, against the governor and Justice O. A. Boade, to ask the court to determine whether the governor has the requisite power to elevate to Obas based on Justice Boade’s panel report.

When the case was called before Justice Olajumoke Aiki of Court 10, Eleja (SAN), had informed the court that the case was adjourned at the last hearing for governor Ajimobi to file all necessary processes to build his defense as they just took over the case that day.

“The case was adjourned for the first defendant to file necessary processes to build their defense. We have done that this morning by filing three processes; we filed our Notice of Preliminary Objection and written address, we filed the first defendant’s amendment statement and our Motion on Notice. We have served the process on the claimant’s counsel this morning,” Eleja stated.

In reply to his submissions, Senator Ladoja’s counsel, Michael Lana stated that that he wants to put it on record that the defense was delaying trial as they should have served the processes on him before the date of hearing so that he can reply since they know he has to read the arguments and also file his reply, adding that it is a ploy to delay the matter and he will in future be applying that all processes be taken together.

“The matter was seen to be urgent, that is why we went to the vacation court to get an order that the case be heard during vacation and they delayed until the case moved to this court, giving excuses of having other engagements. They should have served the process on us 24 hours after the last hearing but they just filed it this morning. This is a deliberate ploy to delay the trial of the case, I want to put it on record that they have been causing delay and will be applying that all processes be taken together at the right time rather than taking one and taking a long adjournment again,” he stated.

Eleja, however, responded to the accusations, denying that they wanted to delay the trial for any reason. He stated that he needed to put the record straight as they just appeared in the matter at the last hearing and the court gave them in order to file all processes which they just did to show that they are ready to go on and the allegation was unfounded, adding that, “there is no ploy, deliberate or otherwise to delay trial.

“There is nothing like delaying for any reason, all processes crucial to the determination of the matter from our end has been filed. Anxiety to get the case concluded does not mean things should not be done correctly,” Eleja stated.

Justice Aiki after hearing arguments from parties adjourned the matter till November 6, 2017, for the mention. It will be recalled that Kenneth Eleja from the chambers of Yusuf Alli, had at the last hearing announced his appearance for the governor and the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Seun Abimbola, announced his appearance for Justice Boade, who was joined as co-respondent in the suit as the head of the panel of inquiry on whose report the reform was carried out.

Lana had objected to Eleja’s appearance for the governor on the ground that it is too late for the respondents to split their arguments since it was the Attorney General that had been representing both parties since the case was filed but the Attorney General had argued that two independent state parties are defendants in the matter and every individual that has been summoned to court have the right to be defended by a counsel of choice.

The Attorney General had added that he just got the information that Yusuf Alli will be taking over as counsel to the governor the previous evening and as the case was listed for the mention, there was no time to regularize appearance, adding that the parties involved will do the needful before the next hearing.

Eleja had informed the court that a motion was filed the previous day to the effect that they would be taking over the matter while a memorandum was sent from their chambers to this effect adding that they would file processes by way of the amendment before the next hearing and the court had adjourned for them to file processes.

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