A Kogi State High Court sitting at Idah, Kogi State, on Wednesday, November 24, 2021, dismissed a suit filed by one Ibrahim Agama against Joseph Agama as 1st defendant and Dekina Local Government Traditional Council as 2nd defendant.
The claimant and the 1st defendant contested for the position of Gago Odu-Omadene in Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State after a separate gagorate area was created and approved for the people of Odu-Omadene in 2018.
After their interview, Dekina Local Government Traditional Council found the 1st defendant to be the most suitable candidate to be appointed as Gago Odu-Omadene and consequently recommended him to Dekina Local Government Council for appointment.
Following the said recommendation, the 1st defendant was issued appointment letter as Gago Odu-Omadene by Dekina Local Government Council.
Dissatisfied with the appointment of the 1st defendant as Gago Odu-Omadene, the Claimant filed a suit in the High Court challenging the said appointment and further prayed the court to void the appointment and declare him as the rightful person to be appointed as Gago Odu-Omadene.
At the close of trial, Counsel for the State, S.O. Akobe, Esq., a legal officer in the Kogi State Ministry of Justice, amongst other issues canvassed in his final written address, raised the issue of the non-joinder of Dekina Local Government Council as a party to the suit and urged the court to hold that the said non-joinder is fatal to the case of the claimant since it is Dekina Local Government Council that appointed the 1st defendant as Gago Odu-Omadene.
On his part, Counsel to the 1st defendant, Arome Odoma, Esq., in his final written address, x-rayed the evidence led by the Claimant and urged the court to hold that the Claimant failed woefully to prove his case as required by law.
The Claimant’s Counsel, Samuel Abbah, Esq. in his final written address, argued that the Claimant had proved his case and therefore, entitled to the reliefs sought in the suit.
On the issue of non-joinder of Dekina Local Government Council as a party in the suit, the Claimant’s Counsel urged the Court to hold that it was mere technicality and therefore, not fatal to the case of the Claimant.
Delivering the judgment of the Court on 24th November, 2021, the Presiding Judge, Justice Ruth Alfa, upheld the defence Lawyers’ submissions and held that the claimant failed to prove his case as on the balance of probabilities.
On the issue of non-joinder of Dekina Local Government Council which is a necessary party in the suit, the Court cited a Supreme Court decision on that point and held that it is an issue that goes to the jurisdiction of the Court which cannot be treated as mere technicality.
The Court, thereafter, made findings from the evidence led at the trial especially in relation to the appointment letter of the 1st defendant which clearly showed the appointing authority as Dekina Local Government Council; a statutory body which was never joined in the suit.
Based on its findings, the Court held that the Claimant’s failure to join the said Dekina Local Government Council in the suit was fatal to his case as the court cannot be seen to make a vain and unenforceable order.
The Court consequently dismissed the Claimant’s suit for lacking in merit.
Speaking to journalists after the judgment, the Learned State Counsel, S.O. Akobe, Esq. described the judgment as a “sweet victory” and a “landmark decision” which has laid judicial guideline(s) on the issue of appointment of Gagos vis-a-vis who to join as party or parties when filing a suit in the Court in respect thereof.
On his part, Arome Odoma, Esq. described the judgment as “victory for justice and equity” which has brought the hitherto tussle in relation to Odu-Omadene Gagoship position to rest.