Justice Emeka Nwite of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Friday adjourned further proceedings in the case filed by the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Hon. Lucky Aiyedatiwa pending the hearing and determination of the appeal filed by Ondo State House of Assembly at the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja.
Justice Nwite after taking arguments canvassed by the parties, extensively reviewed all the issues raised by the counsels in the case on the effect of the appeal of the Assembly on the jurisdiction of the court to give his ruling.
The court in its ruling relied upon the affidavit of facts dated October 27, 2023, filed by the plaintiff, which was not denied by any of the defendants and which showed clearly that the Ondo State House of Assembly filed an appeal against the orders made by the court on September 26, 2023 and also transmitted the record of appeal to the Court of Appeal.
The judge further reviewed the affidavit of facts dated November 10, 2023, which revealed that the Court of Appeal assumed jurisdiction over the appeal when it sat on the appeal on November 3, 2023, noting that these facts were not denied by any of the defendants.
The judge further examined the Notice of Appeal of the Assembly wherein it sought two reliefs to set aside the ex-parte orders made on September 26, 2023, and also challenged the jurisdiction of the Court to entertain the substantive suit.
The court consequently held that these requests tally with the application of the Governor filed on November 4, 2023, and also another application filed by the assembly itself. In essence, the reliefs being sought by the assembly in its appeal are the same reliefs being sought by the Governor before the Federal High Court.
The court further held that in the light of the clear provisions of Order 4 Rule 11 of the Court of Appeal Rules which states that once an appeal is entered all applications should only be filed in the Court of Appeal, the Federal High Court cannot struggle for jurisdiction with the Court of Appeal over the same issues.
Justice Nwite held that the hierarchy of courts does not permit the Federal High Court to sit over the same issues already pending before the Court of Appeal as it would amount to judicial rascality for him to continue to sit on the case when he is now fully aware that the Court of Appeal has fully assumed jurisdiction over the appeal of the assembly.
The Court thereafter adjourned proceedings to await the determination of the appeal filed by Ondo State House of Assembly.