As the legal battle rages on between former Miss Nigeria, Helen Prest, and Mrs. Oluwayemisi Ajayi, the wife of the deceased medical doctor and businessman, Dr. Ademola Oluwatosin Ajayi, a new twist has been added to the case as Mrs. Oluwayemisi Ajayi has filed an application before the Federal High Court in Lagos, urging the court to set aside the order obtained by Ms. Helen Prest and her daughter, Tomisin Ajayi, granting them leave to institute the pending action and restraining Mrs. Oluwayemisi Ajayi from running First Foundation Medical Engineering Company Limited, the company in which she and her husband are shareholders.
She contended that the order is a nullity on the ground of fundamental irregularity, lack of jurisdiction and denial of fair hearing.
According to Vanguard, the presiding Judge, Justice Tijjani Ringim, gave the ruling in an application filed by Miss Tomisin Ajayi and Mrs Helen Prest Ajayi as 1st and 2nd Applicants respectively, through their counsel, Mr Abiodun Jellili Owonikoko, (SAN).
The 1st to 4th Respondents/Applicants in the suit are First Foundation Medical Engineering Company Ltd, Registrar-General of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC); Mrs Oluwayemisi Ajayi and a lawyer, Mr Patrick Abak and the 1st, 3rd and 4th Respondents are being represented by Mr. Kunle Adegoke SAN.
First Foundation Medical Engineering Company Limited was owned by the late Dr Tosin Ajayi in equal shares with her wife, Mrs. Oluwayemisi Ajayi.
However, the Respondents have also filed a counter-affidavit to the originating motion stating their reactions in addition to an application to set aside the order of court granted on 5th August 2021.
In an affidavit sworn to by a legal practitioner Afeez Ishola Soliu of Kunle Adegoke & Co., the deponent averred that on the 9th day of September 2021, upon conducting a search of the Court’s file in respect of this suit, to their greatest dismay, they discovered that the matter had come upon two occasions, without service of hearing notice of the proceedings on the respondents, but that ruling had also been delivered in respect of the originating summons by which the Plaintiffs sought orders to restrain the Respondents.
Due to the apparent deliberate suppression of facts and a glaring act of bad faith on the part of the Plaintiffs, the court was misled to entertain the proceeding of 2nd of September, 2021 under the belief that the respondents had notice of the said proceedings. No form of hearing notice whatsoever, whether emanating from the court or from the applicants, was served on their counsel or even on the respondents.
Helen Prest Has No Shares In First Foundation – Mrs Oluwayemisi Ajayi
The Respondents contended that failure to serve hearing notice is a breach of a fundamental principle of fair hearing and that as at the 7th day of September 2021 when the originating summons dated 23rd July, 2021was heard and determined, the respondents were still within time to respond to the allegations of the Plaintiffs, but were denied the right to respond to the said originating summons.
By virtue of the foregoing, the proceeding of the court conducted without the issuance of hearing notice to the respondents are liable to be set aside, the Respondents contended. Consequently, the three respondents comprising; First Foundation Medical Engineering Company Limited, Mrs. Oluwayemisi Ajayi and Mr Patrick Abak are urging the court to set aside the entire proceedings of the court conducted on the 2nd and 7th days of September 2021 for being a nullity on grounds of fundamental irregularity, lack of jurisdiction and denial of fair hearing. They also sought an order compelling the plaintiffs, Mrs Hellen Prest Ajayi and her daughter Miss Tomisin Ajayi to effect payment, to the three respondents in respect of the undertaking made pursuant to which the plaintiffs interlocutory prayers were granted by the court, the said order being liable to be set aside.
In a counter-affidavit sworn to by Mrs Oluwayemisi Ajayi against the originating motion which is the substantive suit, Mrs Ajayi stated that she was aware that Miss Tomisin presents herself as the love chid of an adulterous relationship between her deceased husband, Dr Tosin Ajayi and his adulteress, Ms Helen Prest. According to Mrs. Ajayi, although she is not in a position to confirm if Tomisin Ajayi is a child of her deceased husband as her deceased husband never introduced her or to any other member of the family, since her husband’s passing, she and her children have, in good faith, decided not to dispute the paternity of Tomisin but decided to accept her as one of the beneficiaries of the estate of her deceased husband together with her children.
Mrs Ajayi averred further that, at the time of the incorporation, the name of the company was First Foundation Medical Company Limited on 6th June,1980 before it was changed to First Medical Engineering Company Limited in April 2002. And that since the incorporation of the company, she has always been a shareholder and Director of the company and holds 50% of the shares of the company. She said that at no time did her deceased husband and her terminate their marriage as their marriage was always extant and never dissolved till he died.
Her late husband, Dr. Ademola Oluwatosin Ajayi, and she were married under the Marriage Act on the 6th day of July 1974 and the marriage was celebrated at the Divisional Office Ijebu-Ode and that the second plaintiff in this suit, Miss Helen Prest was her husband’s adulteress who, despite knowing that her deceased husband was always a married man, continued to have an illicit relationship with him as a concubine.
To buttress this point, Mrs. Oluwayemisi Ajayi attached to her response a handwritten note written by Miss Helen Prest sometime in 1998 wherein she admitted to being aware that her late husband and she were still married and not divorced. It was in pursuance of this illicit affair that Ms. Helen Prest presented Tomisin as the love child of their affair. Mrs. Ajayi stated in her affidavit that Helen Prest was never in any legally cognizable relationship with her deceased husband as he was always married to her at every point in time.
She admitted that Helen was her deceased husband’s concubine but never a shareholder of their company First Foundation Medical Engineering Company Limited, but a mere meddlesome interloper with no legally cognizable relationship with the company, therefore she had no reason whatsoever to act prejudicially or oppressively to the plaintiffs who as a matter of fact are strangers to the company.
She contended further that the Plaintiffs have no right to institute the action as they are not shareholders of the company. To demonstrate her good faith, she deposed in her affidavit that she caused her lawyers to write to Tomisin Ajayi to join in her children’s application to obtain Letters of Administration for their deceased father but Tomisin replied through her lawyer that she did not want to have anything to do with her and her children.
She contended that the plaintiffs are on a mission rooted in corporate robbery sought to be carried out in the garment of the law and that the instant suit, together with the application for injunction, is frivolous, vexatious and without any basis. Consequently, in the interest of justice, she contended that the reliefs sought by Helen Prest in the originating motion for 50% of her husband’s estate, should be refused.
The matter has not been given a new date.
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Court sacks Accord Party Exco, NWC
A High Court of Federal Capital Teritory, Maitama, on Monday has barred the National Chairman of the Accord Party, Hon. Mohammad Lawal Nalado, from further occupying any position in the party.
This was as the court also sacked all the National Executive Members and National Working Committees, who were said to have contested and spent more than two terms in office and so prevented from re-contesting for the same post/office or remain in the same office in acting capacity after the expiration of their term(s).
In a judgment delivered by Hon. Justice O. A. Adeniyi was consequent upon an Originating Summons brought against the National Executive and National Working Committee of the party by Innocent Igboekwe, Prince Joseph James and Jamilu Abass.
Represented by their Attorney, Chief Wakeel Olawale Liady of The Bridge Chambers, the three party members sought a declaration from the court to prevent the national officers of the party not to hold any office in their hierarchy of the party having been sworn-in twice as prescribed by the constitution of the party.
The plaintiff also asked the Court to declare that the tenure of office of Hon. Mohammad Lawal Nalado’s led National Executive Committee and National Working Committee of the party has expired on the 17th of January 2022 having been elected and sworn in on the 18th day of January, 2018.
The declaration stated inter alia: ‘Having regard to the clear and unambiguous provision of section 223 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), Section 85 (3) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and Articles 19 and 23 of the Constitution of the Accord Party,
‘By the reason of the expiration of Hon. Mohammad Lawal Nalado’s led National Executive Committee and National Working Committee of the ACCORD on the 17th day of January, 2022 there has been a vacuum in the administration and running of the 1st Defendant’s political party.
‘By the reason of the expiration of Hon. Mohammad Lawal Nalado’s led National Executive Committee and National Working Committee of the ACCORD on the 17th day of January, 2022, the 3rd, 4th and 5th Defendants and/or any member of their committee cannot function, act and perform as subsisting members of the National Executive Committee and National Working Committee of the 1st Defendant as from 18th day of January, 2022.
‘The deliberate refusal, failure and negligence of the 3rd, 4th and 5th Defendants to call and hold National Convention and meetings of the National Executive Committee and National Working Committee as required by the law is a gross violation of provisions of the 1st Defendant’s Constitution.
‘The deliberate refusal, failure and negligence of the 3rd, 4th and 5th Defendants to call for the annual auditing of the finance of the ACCORD is an infraction of the provision of 28 (1) of the Constitution of ACCORD.
‘By virtue of provision of section 223 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and Section 85 (3) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), the 2nd Defendant should oblige that the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th Defendants to comply with the extant laws on tenure of office and finance of the ACCORD.’
Granting the plaintiff’s prayers, Justice Adeniyi therefore restrained the Accord Party and the National Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) from allowing the Naldo, Michael Lerama, and Barrister Maxwell Ngbudem alongside other executive and the NEC members, who had contested and held party office for two terms from further contesting and holding office after their second term.
The Court also granted an order in favour of the Plaintiff restraining Accord Party and INEC from according or continuing to accord any recognition to the r any other member of the party, who has served during Hon. Mohammad Lawal Nalado’s led National Executive Members and National Working Committee because their tenure of office had expired on the 17th day of January, 2022.
Justice Adeniyi also directed the Accord Party to hold its National Convention/State Congresses with a view to elect members of the National and State executive Committee with ninety (90) days from the date judgement is delivered in this suit.
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