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Osun 2014 Gov Tribunal: Niyi Owolade in N20m Debt, Lawyers Drag Him to Court



By Abdulrafiu Agboola

The governorship candidate of the Accord Party (AP) in the August 9, 2014 gubernatorial election in Osun State, Barr. Niyi Owolade is currently indebted to the team of lawyers he engaged to prosecute his petition against the victory of Governor Rauf Aregbesola at the poll, CityMirrorNews learnt.

Investigation revealed that Owolade, a former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Osun State is indebted to the lawyers to the tune of N20 million being the professional fees of the counsels that appear at the tribunal.

Owolade’s petition was dismissed by the tribunal after he withdrew it.

CityMirrorNews gathered that the legal team has dragged Owolade before a High Court in Osogbo, to compel him to pay their professional fee after they had exhausted other means to get him to pay the money.

The lawyers, it was gathered had, through their counsel, Dr. R. O. Abdulkadir written a letter dated March 18, 2015 titled: “Demand for Professional Fees” to Owolade but there was no fruitful response to the letter.

In the suit titled: B. J. Adedayo & 5 ors Vs. Barr. Niyi Owolade with reference number: HOS/47/2016 the plaintiffs are praying the Court to order the defendant to pay them the sum of N20 million being their professional fees for representing the Defendant at the tribunal.

According to the Statement of Claim filed by the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Abdulkadir, they are also seeking the Court’s order directing Owolade to pay 20 percent and 10 percent interests respectively on the sum.

The interests, according to the claimants are to be calculated from the date of the judgment until the whole sum is liquidated and their fees for services rendered for the defendant at Osun State Election Petition Tribunal in suit No: EPT/GOV/OS/2/2014 forthwith.

The statement of claim reads in parts: “The Claimants avers that they were engaged by the defendant to conduct his case in EPT/GOV/OS/2/2014 as legal practitioners before the Osun State Gubernatorial Election petition Tribunal.

“The Claimants aver that they accepted the said engagement and diligently prosecuted the said action for the period it lasted in accordance with the instructions of the defendant.

“The claimants aver that while the action was in progress, the defendant requested for the statement of the claimants’ professional fees, which was duly prepared, forwarded to and received by the defendant.

“The claimants aver that the defendant upon receipt of the said letter promised to expedite action without delay by paying a deposit of 70% of the entire fees to guarantee the payment of the professional fees.

“The claimants aver that the defendant never raised a query on the professional fees. Rather, he accepted same with promise to pay without any delay before the completion of the said suit.

“The Claimants aver that during the pendency of the said suit and upon completion, the Defendant never made good his promise to ensure the prompt payment of either the deposit or the balance. The Defendant refused and/or neglected to pay the Claimants the agreed sum as professional fees.

“The Claimants aver that at the completion of the suit, on 8th January, 2015 a letter of remainder on the subject of professional fees was written to the Defendant. The said letter was duly received by the Defendant. The letter dated 8th January, 2015 written by B. J. Adedayo Esq. is hereby pleaded and shall be relied upon at the trial of this suit.

“The Claimant State that the Defendant has not exhibited any sign of concern towards fulfilling his part of the obligation in respect of the Election Petition handled by the Claimants for him before the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, Osun State”.

No date has been fixed for hearing of the suit.