Governorship Tribunal: Ogun NNPP Replaces Counsel, Ogah With Dale Izunya
The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), has debriefed Peter Ogah (Esq) of the Law Firm of Peter Ogah & Partners from the petition filed at the Ogun State Governorship Election Tribunal sitting in Abeokuta over the omission of the party’s name on the ballot paper used in conducting March 18th elections in the state, the NNPP.
Naijanewshub.com.ng reports that the NNPP and its gubernatorial candidate in Ogun state in the said election, Ambassador Olufemi Ajadi Oguntoyinbo have appointed another counsel, Isaac Dale Izunya of Izunya Izunya & Co to act as the new counsel in respect of this matter.
This was made known in the motion dated 11th April, 2023 and brought before the Ogun State Governorship Election Tribunal in effecting the change of the Counsel.
Parts of the motion with the heading, ‘Motion on notice for change of Counsel brought pursuant to section 36 (5) (C) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (As amended) 2018, order 9 rule 35 (1) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) rules, schedule l, paragraph 47 (2) & (3) 9f electoral rules and procedure, 2022 and under the inherent jurisdiction of this honourable court’ reads:
“An order permitting the petitioner to change his counsel from Peter Ogah Esq of the Law Firm of Peter Ogah & Partners to Isaac Dale Izunya Esq of the law Firm of Izunya Izunya & Co.
“My lord, we submit to your lordship that the right of the Petitioner/ Applicant to get a counsel of her choice that is, briefing and debriefing a counsel at any time is a guaranteed constitutional right.
“We commend my lord to section 36 (5) (c) of the 1999 constitution (As amended) 2018 and the case of Akumo V Ezikpe (2001) 8 NWLR (Pt.716) 547; Dangote Cement Plc V Ekeson Salins Oil & Gas Ltd. & Ors. (2019) LPELR-47259 (CA); Ojonye V Onu & Ors (2018) LPELR-44212 (CA); Oke V UBA (2015) LPELR-24827.
“My lord, we submit on the basis of exhibit A in the affidavit in support of this application that Isaac Dale Izunya of Izunya Izunya & Co is the only person and no other, authorized by the Petitioner/Applicant to take over this matter.
“The law is crystal clear beyond peradventure that issues of internal affairs of a political party, which the instant case is, is controlled by the National Executive Committee of the party. In PDP V Sylva (2016) LPELR- 42559 (SC) the supreme court at pg. 146 held thus:
“Consequently, the court does not have jurisdiction to make appointment of persons to hold party offices, represent a party in elections or to determine any dispute arising from the internal affairs of a political party. See also the cases of PDP V Sherrif & Ors (2017) LPELR-42736 (SC):
“We submit on the basis of the above, that the national executive of the party is the supreme organ of the party that takes decision for and on behalf of the party and has taking such decision as per exhibit A and no member of the party or any authority is vested with jurisdiction to question the decision of the National Executive Committee.
“Going by the above, it is obvious my Lord, that a party to a suit has an unfettered right to change his counsel at any time during the pendency of the suit.
“We humbly urge this Honorable Court to grant the prayer of the Petitioner/Applicant and permit her to change her counsel from Peter Ogah to I.D Izunya”.
It could be recalled that the National Secretary of the NNPP, Dipo Olayoku through a letter dated 24th March, 2023 informed the office of Izunya Izunya & Co to be the Counsel in any petition concerning the 18th March elections.
According to the letter with the heading: ‘Letter of instructions to file petitions at the Governorship and State Assembly Elections Tribunal, Isabo, Abeokuta, Ogun State’ reads: “Take this as instructions to lead Isaac Dale Izunya to file petitions on behalf of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) Governorship and State Assembly Elections holding at Isabo, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
“The petitions are to challenge the outcome of the Governorship and State Assembly Elections conducted on the 18th March, 2023”.