By Innocent Anaba
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, ordered the Sport Minister, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja and the Nigeria Premier League Board, NPL, to maintain status quo on the League Sponsorship deal pending the determination of the suit by a firm, Total Promotions Limited.
It will be recalled that the NPL had last week cancelled the award of the League Sponsorship right to MTN Nigeria Limited on the ground that due process was not initially followed, while ordering a fresh bidding process within two weeks.
Nigerian telecommunication firm, Globacom Nigeria Limited, it will also be recalled had withdrawn the suit it filed against NPL and others over the award of the League Sponsorship right to MTN.
But Total Promotions, recently filed a fresh suit against Adedoja, NPL and NFA, claiming that it has a duly executed agreement for the League Sponsorship right in the next four years on behalf of MTN.
When the matter came up, yesterday, counsel to the plaintiff, told the court that the defendants were taking steps on the subject matter of the suit not minding the existence of the suit.
However, there was a mild drama in court when two lawyers announced appearance for the NPL.
While ordering parties to maintain status quo, Justice Murtala_Nyako also advised the defendants to put their house in order in respect to the issue of legal representation before the next adjourned date.
The judge, meanwhile, adjourned till February 9, for hearing of the preliminary objection jointly filed by the NPL and the NFA, challenging the suit.
The defendants in the objection, want the court to strike out the suit for lack of jurisdiction to entertain same.
According to the defendants, by virtue of Section 251 (1) of the Constitution, only the State High Court or High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja could adjudicate on the matter and not the Federal High Court being a dispute arising from the execution of a contractual agreement.
In a five_paragraph affidavit in support of the preliminary objection, the defendants argued that there was a provision for referral of dispute arising from the League Sponsorship contract to an arbitral panel.
The defendants in the affidavit, stressed that the plaintiff (Total Promotions) failed to invoke the arbitration clause in the agreement before rushing to court, and urged the court to strike it out.