There was a mild drama at the Oyo State High Court 2 on Friday, before Justice Moshood Abass , when the case filed by the Oyo State Government against the 68 sacked council chairmen over the administration of council areas in the state was called.
Two different counsels announced appearance as legal representative of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General Federation(AGF), Abubakar Malami, causing confusion on who the real representative is.
The state government instituted the case against the sacked chairmen and joined the Commissioner of Police in Oyo State; the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General of the Federation as respondents.
When the case was called, a legal representative, Mr. Abiodun Amole from Chief Niyi Akintola’s Chambers stood to announce his presence for the AGF but was immediately countered by a Principal State Counsel from the Federal Ministry of Justice, Abuja, Mrs. A. O. Ukpai, who said she came from Abuja to represent the Minister in the matter.
The two could not agree on who the rightful counsel is as Ukpai insisted that she was given a letter to that effect from the ministry, while the counsel from Chief Akintola’s Chambers said he was the one to represent the minister and requested that the case be stood down in order for him to consult his principal.
His application for a stand down was however opposed counsel to the Oyo State Government, Dr. Akin Onigbinde, who raised an objection and called the attention of the court to a letter he received from a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Malam Yusuff Alli, indicating that he had been consulted to take over from the former counsel to the suspended council chairmen, Mr. Kunle Sobaloju.
He consequently requested that the case be adjourned till April 13 and 14 for Alli to take over. However, other counsels in the matter told the court the dates were not convenient and decided on May 11 and 12.
In his ruling, Justice Abass ordered the counsel from Chief Akintola’s Chambers and the counsel from the Federal Ministry of Justice to settle the issue on who represents the minister between them before the next adjournment and adjourned the case till May 11 for report of settlement or hearing.