NGF crisis: Again, Governor Jang’s counsel cause confusion in court

Presiding Officer, Asishana Okauru, announcing the result of the controversial NGF election that divided the Forum in 2013

The two counsel could not agree on who would represent Mr. Jang led NGF.

An Abuja High Court on Wednesday ordered two lawyers, Awa Kalu, and Friday Nwosu, to file separate written addresses to enable the court determine who represents the Governor Jonah Jang-led Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF.

Justice Peter Affen gave the order after both counsel failed to reach an agreement over who represents the Forum in the matter.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported how two different counsel caused confusion in court at the last sitting on June 24 claiming to each represent Mr. Jang’s faction in the suit filed by Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos on the NGF crisis

Justice Affen had enjoined the lawyers to act with caution, noting that the judiciary was in the spotlight again. He had advised them not to do anything that would erode the credibility, adding: “Let us not toe the line of the Nigerian Governors Forum.

“We are here to resolve their differences and not to add to it.”

Mr. Fashola, through his counsel, Yemi Osinabajo, had filed an application seeking to restrain Mr. Jang from parading himself as Chairman of the Forum. Others named as defendants are Asishana Okauru, the Director General of NGF; Osaro Omaiwu, Sole Administrator of Mr. Jang’s faction of NGF; and the Registered Trustees of Governors’ Forum.

At the resumed hearing of the case, Mr. Kalu told the court that the move to settle the confusion over who represents the Jang led NGF had failed.

“My lord, I invited my learned friend, Mr. Nwosu, and he attended the meeting but unfortunately our meeting did not yield any results.

“Having failed to resolve it, we urge the court to use its discretion and settle the dispute,” he said.

Mr. Kalu said that he was the first counsel to file a memorandum of appearance on behalf of the fourth defendant. He said that no counsel can announce his appearance without being instructed to do so.

He argued that once a counsel announces appearance on behalf of a party, the proper way to change the counsel was by applying order 12 rule (1) and (2) of memorandum of appearance.

“My lord, I filed a memorandum of appearance for the 4th defendant in June 2013 and if the court holds that the first memorandum of appearance stands, then no other memorandum of appearance can stand,” Mr. Kalu said.

He also urged the court to admit his representation being the first counsel to file memorandum of appearance on behalf of 4th defendant.

Mr. Nwosu, however, urged the court to discountenance Mr. Kalu`s claim and to hold that his memorandum of appearance was premised on the instruction of the 4th defendant.

Justice Affen, however, said that the court would not be in a position to choose who represents the fourth defendant.

He, therefore, ordered Messrs Kalu and Nwosu to file their separate written addresses and depose to an affidavit by their respective clients.

He said that the address must be ready before the next adjourned date and adjourned the case to July 17 for hearing.

Mr. Jang leads a breakaway faction of the NGF after losing the chairmanship election to Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers in May.


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