…Aggrieved members accuse institute of treating court orders with contempt
Members of the Chartered Institute of Transport Administration (CIOTA) Godson Obi and Nnamdi Eronini have accused the Institute and its leadership of treating the order of a Federal High Court with contempt by refusing to respect the court order which restrained Prince Segun Obayendo and Umar Iya Gulak from parading themselves as President and Deputy/ Vice President of the Institute.
The aggrieved members of CIOTA through their counsel, Chief Ajose Abejoye are challenging the election which brought in Obayendo and Gulak as President and Deputy/ Vice President of the Institute.
The plaintiffs had on December 5th, 2022 approached the Federal High Court in Lagos through their counsels, Chief Ajose Abejoye and Choice Mba- Georges vide a motion on notice praying the court to amongst other reliefs order an interlocutory injunction restraining CIOTA, Messrs Segun Obayendo, Umar Iya Gulak and Prof. Samuel Odewunmi who are 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendant respectively from swearing in Messrs Segun Obayendo and Umar Iya Gulak as National President and Deputy National Vice President of CIOTA pending the determination of the suit.
The plaintiffs had also prayed the court to restrain the 2nd and 3rd defendants from acting or parading themselves or further carrying out any functions in the capacities as national officers as they were not qualified to run for the top positions having failed to attain the status of a Fellow of the Institute for at least five years.
The Judge, Hon. Justice A.O Awogboro following prayers sought by the plaintiffs had ordered the defendants to maintain status quo pending the hearing of the suit.
However, the plaintiffs in a letter written by their Counsel, Ajose Abejoye dated February 17, 2023 and titled Re- Suit NO: FHC/L/CS/2359/22 between Godson Obi, FCIOTA & ANOR.V. Chartered Institute of Transport- Notification of Contempt and Demand to Respect the Order of the Honourable Court made available to our correspondent said they were shock to discover that the defendants have in flagrant disrespect to the order of the court gone ahead to continue to parade themselves as the President and Vice President of the Institute and allow themselves to be sworn in on February 14, 2023.
According to the plaintiffs, some of the actions carried out by the defendants include, “Relocating the national secretariat to Abuja and running two administrative centres in Lagos and Abuja; opening an official account with another bank and leaving off existing bank account with First Bank without seeking official handover by signatories; courtesy corporate visits and signing of agreement with external bodies on sundry excuses; and changing the website address and corporate information without recourse to the issues in court.”
The letter addressed to the Principal Partner of Maritime and Commercial Law Partners (MCLP) and counsel to the defendants, Chief Osuala Nwagbara reads, “We remain counsel to the plaintiffs in the subject matter suit, and as you are aware, the subject matter of the suit is to challenge the election which brought in the 2nd and 3rd defendants as the President and the Vice President of the 1st defendant pursuant to our originating summons further to which we also filed two motions on notice essentially seeking that the defendants refrain from taking further steps including carrying out any functions in the offices being challenged and restraining the 1st defendant from recognizing the 2nd and 3rd defendants as the President and Vice President respectively pending the determination of this suit.
“You would recall that long before today, these two motions were served on your clients as the Honourable court confirmed on the last adjourned date being the 13th February, 2023. You would also recall that the Honourable court on the said last adjourned issued an order that parties should maintain the status quo pending the hearing of the suit. However, to our shock and consternation, we discovered that your clients have in flagrant disrespect to the order of the Honourable court and the two motions that are pending before the Honourable court to their awareness, gone ahead to continue to parade themselves as the President and Vice President of the 1st defendant and allow themselves to be sworn on the 14th day of February, 2023 under the watch of the 1st defendant.
“As a senior counsel in the profession, you will agree with us that the conduct of your clients are contemptuous. In view of these facts, we intend to draw the attention of the Honourable court to this unfortunate incident as no court worth its salt will usually allow or watch its orders be disobeyed. Going forward, we would also request that you advise your clients to refrain from taking further steps that could put a fait accompli on the eventual judgement of the court.
“Please advise your clients accordingly.”