A federal high court sitting in Abuja has indefinitely suspended the forgery case against Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo state.
Recall that the All Progressive Congress (APC) and one of the party’s heads, Williams Edobor, filed a lawsuit against Obaseki accusing him of forging his first-degree certificate, which he presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in order to allow him to contest the election.
In ruling on Obaseki’s request for an indefinite suspension of the litigation, the court held that it would be unreasonable to continue with the complaint in view of the request for a stay pending before the court of appeal.
The judge said;
What will the significance of the action of the trial court be? The response is not far fetched and that is that it does not care what decision the appeal court will take in relation to whether or not it grants a stay of further proceedings.
If in its wisdom, the appellate court actually wanted to stay further proceedings in the lower court and proceedings were completed in the lower court by that time the order of stay made would have been rendered meaningless.
Since this ambiguity remains, it is safer and more reasonable to allow the Court of Appeal to exercise jurisdiction over whether or not it can grant a stay of further proceedings.
In addition, as decided by both the court of appeal and the supreme court, it is the rule that if a lower court is aware of an application for a stay of either execution or prosecution, it would be incorrect to dismiss such a request and continue to hear the action.
As far as this case or any case is concerned, this court is not prepared to be on a collision course with the court of appeal. This court is prepared to comply with any directive that the court of appeal would render or grant to this court, including the order to hear this case.
This action is adjourned sine die to await the decision of the first defendant’s request that further proceedings be suspended.