Lawyer challenges court’s jurisdiction to hear case against Labor Party, INEC | The Guardian Nigeria News
Lagos Solicitor Theodore Okey Ezeobi, Jnr. has filed a Preliminary Notice of Objection with the Federal High Court, Abuja, challenging the jurisdiction and jurisdiction of the court to hear the case brought by Chief Callistus Okafor and others against the National Works Committee (NWC) of the Labor Party (LP), led by Julius Abure, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Plaintiff asks the court to declare (pursuant to the provisions of Order 29, of the Federal High Court, Civil Procedure, Rules 2019) that the Federal High Court does not have jurisdiction and jurisdiction to entertain the action, as it is currently deposited and exchanged between the parties.
He wants the court to strike out the original subpoena and measures, including all processes and proceedings allegedly filed, argued and exchanged between the parties, or relating thereto.
The reason for his prayers, he said, “is that the cause of action (the main claim before the court) based on a dispute, on the legality of the management of the LP, a director incorporated under the Part C of the CAMA, can only be resolved by recourse to the LP Constitution, to the exclusion of anything else, including the CAMA.”
According to him, the prosecution is fundamentally in breach of Section 251 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Section 7 of the Federal High Court Act.
“Indeed, it falls absolutely outside the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, and therefore carried without locus, incompetent, ultra vires, an abuse of judicial process, and null and void.”
Jurisdiction is the basis of arbitration. They are inseparable,” he prayed.
Explaining his legal standing to raise the objection, the plaintiff cited Farquharson v. Morgan, where the court held that the objection to jurisdiction may be raised, and that it matters little by what means and by whom it is so raised.
The case, which is before Judge Inyang Ekwo, is scheduled for June 15, 2022.
Plaintiff’s grounds for preliminary objection are as follows: “It is settled by the Supreme Court of Nigeria, in Gabriel Madukolu & Ors Vs. Johnson Nkemdilim (1962) 1 All NLR 587 that the jurisdiction of a court depends entirely upon whether the subject matter of the case is within its jurisdiction, and that there is no feature of the case that prevents the court from exercising its jurisdiction, and further that, the case is brought before the court according to a regular procedure.
“It is well established law that it is the Constitution or statute or statute which creates the court, and the cause of action, as may be distilled from claims and remedies in the process of origin (in this case, the plaintiff’s original subpoena), which determines the court’s jurisdiction.
“In accordance with the Federal High Court Jurisdiction Act, as contained in Section 251 of the Constitution, which is pari-materia with Part 11, Section 7 of the Federal High Court Act, it n there is nothing in the entire body of plaintiff’s original subpoena, resulting in its cause of action, claims and remedies, or anything, that is consistent with and/or related to, or arises out of: (a) the operation of the CAMA or any other enactment superseding the Act, or regulating the operation of companies incorporated under the CAMA, or (b) affecting the validity of any executive or administrative action or decision of the federal government or any of its agencies (including INEC, the fourth defendant in this case).