Politics

2023: Court fines PRP candidate for late filing of documents

Kola Abiola, the presidential candidate for the People's Redemption Party (PRP), has been fined by a court in Abuja for failing to submit court paperwork on time.

Kola Abiola, the presidential candidate for the People’s Redemption Party (PRP), has been fined by a court in Abuja for failing to submit court paperwork on time.

In her judgement, Justice Fadima Aminu also sanctioned the PRP for failing to timely file its rebuttal affidavit in response to the aggrieved presidential aspirant’s amended originating summons.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, on November 25, a definitive hearing will take place in the case brought by Madam Patience Ndidi Key, a female presidential candidate in the party’s primary election held on June 5.

Following the judge’s approval of Madam Key’s plea to amend her originating summons on November 18, the court was postponed to Friday for a definite hearing, and all parties were required to file their proceedings by that time.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on June 28, Key filed a lawsuit against the People’s Redemption Party (PRP), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and Latifu Abiola.

Key had already disputed Abiola’s nomination as the party’s presidential candidate in an originating summons marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1001/2022.

She asked the court to overturn the vote that had elected Abiola as the PRP’s presidential candidate.

In her petition, she also asked that Abiola not be recognised as the winner of the nationwide primaries.

Kola is the son of the late MKO Abiola, widely regarded as the winner of the presidential election held on June 12, 1993.

When the case was called back for a hearing, the plaintiff’s lawyer Magnus Ihejirika said it had been postponed until later.

However, Ihejirika claimed that the defence attorneys still needed to serve him with counter-affidavits.

Regina Audu, the lawyer for the first defendant (PRP), said on Thursday that her client’s application to the FHC could not be filed due to a network outage at the filing office.

She claims they could not submit payment for the counter affidavit’s filing fee on Thursday because no network was available to create a remittal.

The lawyer requested a postponement, explaining that she needed till Friday to prepare.

The same can be said about Abiola’s counsel, Ijeoma Madu.

Nonetheless, Ihejirlrika said that the defence lawyer’s actions amounted to “a deliberate attempt to stall proceedings in the suit.”

The counsel stated, “time is of the essence in its determination,” and added that the case was filed on June 28.

According to him, the court has less than a month to decide on the case, based on a constitutional provision that gives it only 180 days to do so.

He claimed the defendants’ actions were a ploy to postpone the trial.

Ihejirika, who stated that he travelled from Kebbi to appear in court, argued that the court should impose a cost if it is inclined to allow the defence application.

He proposed a price of N200,000.

Counsel for the defendant, who shared the opposite view, asked the judge to deny the motion.

In her decision, Justice Aminu emphasised that a cost award should serve as compensation rather than punishment.

So, the judge ruled that the PRP (1st defendant) and Abiola (3rd defendant) must pay N20,000 to the plaintiff’s lawyer.

The judge postponed the hearing until December 2.

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