A Federal High Court (FHC) in Abuja has fined People’s Redemption Party (PRP) presidential candidate Kola Abiola for failing to submit his court paperwork on time.
In a judgement, Justice Fadima Aminu also punished the PRP for presenting its rebuttal affidavit in response to the presidential candidate’s revised originating summons late.
Recall that Justice Aminu had scheduled a hearing on November 25 in a case brought by Madam Patience Ndidi Key, a female presidential candidate in the party’s June 5 primary poll.
The court, who allowed Madam Key’s request to alter her originating summons on November 18, directed all parties to submit their procedures by the next postponed date and delayed the hearing to Friday for a definitive decision.
According to NAN, the plaintiff, Key, had filed suit against the PRP, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and Mr. Latifu Abiola on June 28.
In her prior summons dated FHC/ABJ/CS/1001/2022, Key had contested Mr. Abiola’s nomination as the party’s presidential candidate.
She petitioned the court to invalidate the election that produced Abiola as the PRP’s presidential nominee.
In addition, she requested a reversal of Abiola’s victory in the primaries held across the nation.
Kola is the son of the late MKO Abiola, the presumed victor of the presidential election held on June 12, 1993.
Magnus Ihejirika, counsel for the plaintiff, notified the court at the resumption of the hearing that the case was delayed till a later date.
Ihejirika said that the defense attorneys had not yet served him with their counter affidavits so that he could reply properly.
Regina Audu, the attorney for the first defendant (PRP), claimed that there was a network outage at the FHC filing office on Thursday when she attempted to submit her application.
According to her, there was no network to create remittance for us to pay the filing fee for our counter affidavit yesterday (Thursday).
The attorney, who said she could only do so on Friday, requested a postponement.
Also, Ijeoma Madu, who represented Mr. Abiola, talked in a similar manner.
Ihejirlrika, however, characterized the defense attorney’s actions as “a premeditated effort to delay the lawsuit’s processes.”
The attorney, who said that the lawsuit was filed on June 28, stated that “time is of the importance in determining its outcome.”
He said that, according to the constitution, the court has just 180 days to decide the issue, and that, realistically speaking, it had less than a month left.
He maintained that the defendants were adopting a delay strategy to prevent the action from being heard and decided.
Ihejirika, who informed the court that he is from Kebbi, argued that a fee should be charged if the court is inclined to allow the defense motion.
He requested a price of N200,000.
The defense attorney, who disagreed, asked the court to deny the request.
In her judgement, Justice Aminu said that a cost award should not be considered a punishment, but rather a compensation.
Therefore, the court ordered the PRP (1st defendant) and Abiola (3rd defendant) to pay the plaintiff counsel N20,000 apiece.
She adjourned the hearing until December 2 indefinitely.