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Court affirms Kolade Alabi-led ALGON leadership

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The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Friday, dismissed a case seeking a declaration that Hon. Kolade David Alabi, is not qualified to be national president of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON).

The claimants argue that Alabi, the immediate-past president, who was chairman of Bariga Local Council Development Area (LCDA) in Lagos State at the time, cannot be president of the association since Bariga is not among the country’s 774 Local Government Areas.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1609/2023, was instituted by the Incorporated Trustees of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Honorable Abubakar Abdullahi and Honorable Shaban Oyinoyi Shuaibu.

The applicants sued the Federal Ministry of Finance, Accountant-General of the Federation and Governor of Central Bank as 1st to 3rd respondents.

Others joined in the matter include the Attorney-General of the Federation, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Inspector-General (I-G) of Police, State Security Services(SSS) and Honorable Alabi as 4th to 8th respondents respectively.

In their originating summons filed by Bartholomew Opara, they maintained that Alabi is not eligible to be ALGON president as he was not a local government chairman as contemplated by the 1999 Constitution, the Constitution of ALGON and a Supreme Court decision which had touched on the dispute.

Opara contended in his process that Alabi had been removed by ALGON’s National Executive Council in 2019 but he kept parading himself as president.

He therefore urged Justice Inyang Ekwo to uphold the removal of Alabi by NEC and perpetually restrain him from further parading as such, among other reliefs.

But Alabi’s lawyer, Wahab Shittu, SAN, filed a counter affidavit and preliminary objection, urging the court to decline jurisdiction on the matter.

Shittu told the court to strike out the case and dismiss the entire suit for lack of jurisdiction and for being incompetent.

He added that the entire case rests on the constitution of ALGON and the only person that can be sued is the national president, but the person sued “is the national chairman.”

In his judgement on Friday, Justice Ekwo held that the subject matter of the case and claims of the applicants are matters that the ALGON, by its general assembly and by applying the provisions of its constitution, can resolve.

” In other words, the subject matter of this case belongs in the realm of internal affairs of the association which no outsider, not even the court can be invited to interfere or resolve,” he added.

The judge maintained that an association is bound by its registered constitution and that it is also bound by the decision of the majority taking at its legitimate meetings.

He said any member who does not agree with the decision of the majority has the option of leaving the association.

“I agree with the 8h defendant (Alabi) that the subject matter of this case is an internal affair of the association and this court ought not to interfere and I so hold.

“This court upholds this leg of objection and
declines jurisdiction,” he said.

The judge also described the instant suit as an abuse of court process, having filed similar matter in FCT in suit numbers: FCT/HC/CV/1823/2021; CV/2329/2020 and FHC/JAL/CS/28/2022 in Jalingo division of the FHC.

“I find this suit as an abuse of process of this court and I so hold. The consequence of abuse of process of court is fatal as it is the law that when so found,” he said.

The judge faulted the plaintiffs for using the exact averments to counter every averment in the processes of the 8th defendant.

“This is why in my opinion, the averments of the plaintiffs have failed to respond to the details of the averments of the 8th defendant.

“In the end, I make an order dismissing this case for lack of locus standi of the plaintiffs, abuse of process of the court and incompetence of the originating process. This is the order of this court.

“I therefore make an order striking out this action for lack of locus standi of the applicants,” he declared.

The judge subsequently awarded a fine of N100, 000 against the plaintiffs but in favour of Alabi (2nd defendant).

He equally directed that the fine must be paid within 30 days of the order.

Speaking shortly after the judgment, Alabi described the court’s decision as “far-reaching as it will lay to rest all the agitations of these charlatans.”

According to him, they engage in forgery and falsification of documents to institute actions and matters against us.

Alabi described the judgment as victory for democracy, noting that the fine awarded in his favour would be donated to the charity homes.

Also speaking, the new ALGON president, Hon. Aminu Muazu Maifata, said it was a long-awaited judgment.

“This has now put to rest that anybody that is not an executive member of ALGON cannot institute any legal action or otherwise against it.

“And that has been proved and it has clearly stated that ALGON, as an association, has strata to address any misgiving or challenge of any member,” he said.

Maifata called on all members, including the aggrieved ones, to come together to move the association forward.

“Now, we are set to a complete reunion of ALGON. We are set to move ALGON forward and this has really vindicated our immediate-past President, Hon. Kolade Alabi.

“I enjoined others too, even those that constituted this failed case, to contribute in bringing the Nigerian people at the grassroots together,” he said.

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