Barrister Sule Shuaibu, the solicitor to Uba Sani in the action, fired the first salvo, saying he was amazed an flabagasted by the unwholesome utterances of a legal practitioner who is ordinarily expected to be learned and to respect and protect the sanctity of legal processes.
He said while it was true they have filed an action before a Kaduna state High Court on behalf of his client Uba Sani and obtained a restraining order against the All Progressives Congress and the Independent National Electoral Commission, it is also true that they duly vacated the said order and paved the way for the conduct of the party primaries.
He said it is saddening that those who are expected to be enlightened were also among those who allowed their innermost ignorance to get get the better of them in this matter.
More saddening, he said, is that the people who displayed such ignorance did so without first bothering to cross check with the relevant court registry.
“True, Uba Sani went to court believing that his rights were being infringed, he was being unduly disenfranchised. He was aggrieved after exhausting all available internal mechanisms for redress.
“We secured an interim injunction restraining not only the party from conducting any form of primary election as it were, but also INEC from observing any process or accepting any where Uba Sani’s name is excluded from the process of election.
‘On Thursday October 2, it became clear that the national body of APC had resolved that all those who actually purchased nomination forms should be cleared, and were so cleared to contest the election.
“And the electoral body sent by the party actually came down on that date with the verified list of those qualified to contest duly signed by the national chairman of the party.
“Upon proper consideration and further instruction, we proceeded the following day, and filed a notice of discontinuance of the matter.
“There are concise Court of Appeal and Supreme Court pronouncements to the effect that a person who decides to go to court, has the right and leverage to discontinue his action at anytime before a defence is filed. Even where a defence was filed, he still has the right to discontinue before any further step is taken in the matter.
“On this, the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal are clear that once a person approaches the court registry and duly files a notice of discontinuance, it automatically takes care of the matter and the proceeding is deemed dead without the leave of court. What remains is the formality of striking out the case on the date fixed for mention.
“It is therefore amazing that a person who is supposed to know better is quoted in the media as saying that as far as they were concerned, the matter is still alive. He did not even state that they have filed a defence.
“The only process we became aware of several days later, was a purported notice of preliminary objection seeking the court to decline jurisdiction over the matter. But by that time, we no longer had any live issue to join,” said Barrister Shuaibu.
The learned counsel then frowned at the reported claim by Shehu Sani’s lawyer that he was instructed by the APC national office to file a defence for all the defendants including INEC.
He wondered where the APC might have gotten the power to engage a legal counsel for INEC, an independent federal institution.
“It baffles me that the same person reportedly claimed to have been instructed by the APC to enter a defence for all the defendants, including INEC,” Shuaibu said.
He also described as laughable and unprofessional, the claim by Shehu Sani’s lawyer that by merely approaching the court to seek enforcement of his fundamental right, Uba Sani stands automatically dismissed from the APC.