An Ikeja High Court on Wednesday ordered the Lagos State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to pay the sum of N10.5 million as professional fees to a lawyer, Debo Adeleke.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye, who delivered the summary judgment, also awarded N50,000 cost against the party.
Adeleke had instituted the suit against the PDP national executive and its Lagos State chapter over the party’s failure to pay him his outstanding legal fees.
While the national leadership of the PDP was represented by a counsel, Chukwuma Nmesirionye, its state branch did not make any legal representation during proceedings of the suit.
Following the development, the claimant’s counsel, Benson Akeredolu, in an application dated Oct. 6, urged the court to give a summary judgment against the state PDP.
In her ruling, the judge held that the second defendant (Lagos PDP) breached the provisions of Order 11 Rule 4 of the High Court of Lagos State Civil Procedure Rules.
She noted that the proof of service before the court showed that the party was served with the court processes but refused to file its response to the claimant’s affidavit.
Ipaye said that the non-compliance with the court rules had sent an unequivocal signal that the Lagos PDP was not interested in filing its pleadings.
She said:”This court is more than satisfied with the totality of the unchallenged facts of the claimant.
“Judgment is hereby entered in favour of the claimant.
“The second defendant is ordered to pay the claimant the sum of N10,550,000 being the outstanding balance of the professional fees charged for services rendered to the second defendant.”
NAN recalls that Adeleke had dragged the PDP to court for failing to pay the balance of his legal fees after he had made 180 representations for the party.
His counsel had claimed that he handled seven cases for the PDP at the Lagos State Local Government Elections Petitions Tribunal.
According to him, the legal services were provided by the claimant to the PDP between November 2011 and August 2012.
He said that the party only paid Adeleke N1.45 million out of the N12 million agreed fees for the handling of the cases.
Earlier, Nmesirionye had urged the court to dismiss the suit.
Nmesirionye had argued that the claimant was not instructed to take up the cases by the national leadership of the PDP.
According to him, Article 22(2) of the PDP states that the party shall only have legal relationship with any person through its national officers.
He said that none of the correspondences tendered by Adeleke was between the national headquarters of the party and the claimant.
Nmesirionye said the Lagos State PDP had the power to instruct lawyers, adding that there was no need to drag the national headquarters into the matter.