The matter challenging the outcome of the 2016 Nigerian Bar Association election which was instituted by Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN, before Hon. Justice O.A. Adeniyi of Court 15 (former Court 19) of the FCT High Court sitting in Apo, against A.B. Mahmoud, SAN & Ors, is finally due for judgement, following the adoption of the final written addresses of all parties on the 2nd day of November 2018.
After the presentation of cases by counsel for all parties and the admission of relevant evidence in Court, the Defendants technically argued in their addresses that the matter has become merely academic because A.B. Mahmoud, SAN, Former President of the NBA has since finished his term and left office.
According to them, there is no live issue before the Court, claiming additionally that the Claimant failed to prove his case.
Counsel to the Claimant, Darlington Onyekwere Esq., in response submitted that a matter does not become academic merely because the act or conduct which gave rise to the action has been concluded. Claimant’s Counsel placed heavy reliance on the decision in Plateau State v. A.G Federation (2006) 3 NWLR (Pt 967) and Peter Obi v INEC (2007) 11 NWLR Part 1046, in urging the Court to discountenance the Defendants’ argument that the matter had become academic.
Darlington Onyekwere, Esq., further submitted that the Court, being a Court of first instance, should go ahead to give its decision on the merits of the case in the very unlikely decision that it finds that the matter had become academic. Learned Counsel for the Claimant stated the rationale for this to be to allow the appellate Courts have a holistic review of the entire matter in the event of an appeal. A. A. Malik, Esq., on behalf of the 8th Defendant aligned himself with the submission of the Claimant’s Counsel & urged the Court to proceed to give its decision on the merits of the matter ‘even though’ (in his words) the matter had become academic.
TheNigerialawyer (TNL) recalls that the matter was earlier adjourned to the 30th October 2018, for adoption of final written addresses, after the court had earlier slammed an N500,000 cost against the then President, A.B. Mahmoud, SAN, but due to the fact that the Court did not sit on 30th October, the matter was adjourned to the 2nd day of November 2018 when the said addresses were adopted.
As earlier stated, Darlington Onyekwere, Esq., appeared for the claimant. On the other hand, Christabel Ndeokwelu (Miss) appeared for the 1st Defendant, Abdulrasheed O. Usman for the 2nd to 6th Defendants, Mrs. R. U. Edibo for the 9th Defendant, A. A Malik & Ors for the 8th Defendant, as Ede Uko, Esq & Ors appeared for the 7th Defendant (Grace Infotech Limited).
The Court adjourned the matter to 22nd January 2019 for delivery of Judgment.