By Ise-Oluwa Ige

ABUJA—Hearing in an appeal filed by the Nigerian Bar Association,  NBA, challenging the verdict of Justice Dan Abutu that President Umaru Yar’Adua breached no provision of the constitution by his refusal to handover power to his vice, Dr. Jonathan Goodluck, while on medical leave, yesterday, suffered a major set-back.

This is because the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation which is the major defendant in the case refused to enter appearance in the matter yesterday.

Former Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Akinlolu Olujinmi (SAN) representing NBA, told the panel of justices that sat on the case, yesterday, that the defendant deliberately refused to send lawyers after it had been served hearing notice.

He alleged that the ploy was to stall trial in the case.

The Abuja division of the Court of Appeal, however, said there was no way hearing could commence in the case without the respondents.

The appellate court consequently ordered that a fresh hearing notice be issued the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation to enable it send lawyers to court at the next adjourned date.

The case was adjourned till April 15.

It will be recalled that few weeks after ailing President Yar’Adua travelled out of the country for medical attention without handing over to his Vice, Dr. Jonathan Goodluck, NBA went to court to challenge the president’s decision.

NBA, in its suit, argued that Yar’Adua’s action was in breach of  Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution.

But, the trial judge, Justice Abutu, disagreed with NBA in his judgment, saying Yar’Adua breached no provision of the constitution.
Although Goodluck has already been made Acting President by the National Assembly through invocation of ”doctrine of necessity,” NBA said it would not withdraw the case from court, if only to expand the scope of the nation’s jurisprudence on the issue.


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