Worried, about the pending suit before an Abuja High court over the election of the chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), the embattled factional Chairman and the governor of Rivers state wants his Plateau state counterpart Jonah Jang to withdarw the case he filed to enable them resolved the matter out of court.
A highly placed source, and one of the counsel in the matter said that there are desperate moves from the camp of Ameachi to put intensed pressure of Chief Jonah Jang to withdraw the suit he filed before an Abuja high court against Gov Ameachi who he declared was not the winner of the NGF election.
According to the source, the Rivers state governor has become restless since governor Jonah Jang went to court to challenge the legality of the said election.
When the matter came up last week, Disagreement among lawyers over who should represent Governor Jonah Jang (Plateau State) and two others stalled proceedings in the suit by Governor Babatunde Fashola (Lagos) over the leadership crisis in the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).
Fashola had sued following the crisis generated by NGF’s last election and the claim by Governor Chibuike Amaechi (Rivers State) and Jang to have won the election.
Fashola is seeking among others, an order restraining Jang from parading himself as Chairman, NGF on the ground that Amaechi won the election.
He also wants an order restraining Osaro Onaiwu from acting as the forum’s Sole Administrator.
Named as defendants include chief Jonah Jang, Asishana Bayo Okauru (forum’s Director General), Onaiwu and the forum’s Registered Trustees.
The inability of Paul Erokoro (SAN) and Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) to agree on who should represent Jang and Onaiwu, and similar disagreement between Awa Kalu (SAN) and F. N. Nwosu on who should represent the Registered Trustees had stalled proceedings.
At the mention of the case, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), accompanied by Femi Falana (SAN) announced appearance for the plaintiff.
Oyetibo, accompanied by Mathew Burkaa announced for Jang and Onaiwu. Erokoro also announced for the same parties.
While Kalu announced for Okauru and the Trustees, Nwosu also announced appearance for the Trustees.
The claims by Oyetibo and Irokoro (to be appearing separately for Jang and Onaiwu) and Kalu and Nwosu (to be appearing separately for the Trustees) sparked argument that lasted about 30 minutes, with each lawyer claiming to have been validly instructed.
At a point, Osinbajo opposed suggestion that the case be stood down for sometime to enable the lawyers sort themselves out.
He urged the court to strike out processes filed for Jang and the Trustees because the filing of two different processes for a party amounted to an abuse of court process.
“This is the same confusion in the Governors’ Forum,” he noted.
Presiding judge, Justice Peter Affen said it has not got to the stage where the documents filed by the two sets of lawyers filed separately for Jang and The Trustees.
He advised the lawyers to resolve the disagreement amicably. “We are in the spotlight again, both the Bar and the Bench.
We should not allow acts that will further erode from our credibility.
“Let us not be caught by the problem of the Governors’ Forum. They did not resolve their problem amicably, that is why we are here. We should amicably resolve ours,” Justice Affen said.
In a short ruling after, the judge held that the was an obvious conflict in the representation of the first (Jang), third (Onaiwu) and the fourth (the Trustees) defendants.
“I will grant an adjournment to enable counsel resolve this conflict,” the judge held and adjourned to July 3.
Jang and Onaiwu have filed preliminary objection and statement of defence to the suit.
They want the court to to dismiss the suit on the grounds that the court lacks jurisdiction to hear it, the suit is frivolous and that the plaintiff lacks the necessary right to sue.
Jang, who gave details of what transpired at the May 24 meeting of the NGF, insinsted that he remains the forum’s true leader.