There was a mild drama, on Friday, before Justice Moshood Abass of the Oyo State High Court sitting at Ring road, Ibadan, when the case filed by the Oyo State Government against suspended local government chairmen over the crisis rocking the leadership of council areas in the state was called.
Two different counsels announced appearance as the legal representative of the Minister of Justice, causing confusion on who the real representative is.
The state government filed the case against the sacked chairmen and joined alongside as respondents, the Commissioner of Police in Oyo State, the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General of the Federation.
When the case was called, a legal representative, Mr Abiodun Amole from Chief Niyi Akintola’s Chamber stood to announce his presence for the Attorney General of the Federation but was immediately countered by a Principal State Counsel from the Federal Ministry of Justice Abuja, Mrs A. O. Ukpai, who said she came from Abuja to represent the Minister in the matter.
The two could not agree as to who the rightful counsel is as Ukpai insisted that she was given a letter to that effect from the ministry while the counsel from Chief Akintola’s Chambers said he was the one to represent the minister and requested that the case be stood down in order for him to consult his principal.
His application for a stand-down was however opposed by his the counsel to the Oyo State Government, Dr Akin Onigbinde, who raised an objection and called the attention of the court to a letter he received from a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Malam Yusuff Alli, indicating that he had been consulted to take over from the former counsel to the suspended Local Government Chairmen, Mr Kunle Shobaloju.
He consequently requested that the case be adjourned till April 13 and 14 for the Senior Advocate to take over. However, other counsels in the matter told the court the dates were not convenient and decided on May 11 and 12.
In his ruling, Justice Abass ordered the counsel from Chief Akintola’s Chambers and the counsel from the Federal Ministry of Justice to settle the issue on who represents the minister between them before the next adjournment and adjourned the case till May 11 for a report of settlement or hearing.