Nigerian polo players
Justice M. M. Ladan of the Kaduna State High Court last Friday struck out the suit instituted by Yerima Yusuf against the Nigeria Polo Federation (NPF), seeking recondite questions bordering on the legality of the status of the NPF and whether it can lawfully conduct elections into its executive offices and regulate the game of polo in the country. In the action, which may have laid to rest the legality of the election into executive offices of the NPF, Justice Ladan agreed with the submissions of counsel to the defendants, Sivbone Edu, that since Yerima Yusuf (the plaintiff) through his lawyer, J .O Irikefe on his volition decided to file a notice of discontinuance, it automatically terminated the suit against the defendants pursuant to the case of Maritime Authority vs Brawal Shipping Nigeria Limited.
“I have carefully perused exhibit, there is no gainsaying the fact it is a notice of discontinuance dated the 11th of November, 2010, discontinuing the suit against the defendants. The consequences of a notice of discontinuance is aptly put by the Court of Appeal in the case of Maritime Authority vs Brawal Shipping Nigeria Limited (1998) 8 NWLR pt 615 p.47 as per Atinuke Ige, JCA which states as follows: “at any stage before the hearing of a case, the plaintiff has an un-qualified right to file a notice of discontinuance of the action against the defendant. At that stage, leave of the court is not required and once it’s filed, it terminates the proceedings,” he held.
The judge consequently struck out the suit and awarded a cost of N10,000 against the plaintiff in favour of the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 10th defendants.
The elections into the NPF executive were originally slated for November 11, 2010, but were halted by a restraining order granted ex-parte on November 9 by the court, preventing the defendants from conducting the elections.
However, on November 11, counsel to the plaintiff file a notice of discontinuance discontinuing the case thereby paving the way for the election to hold on November 12 where Francis Ogboro emerged president of the NPF and defeating Alhaji Baba Alhassan Dantata. Few days after, Yusuf denied withdrawing the suit.
Consequently, counsel to the NPF and other defendants led by Edu filed a notice of preliminary objection that the court lacked jurisdiction to continue to entertain the suit.
The defendants in the suit were NPF, Registered Trustees of the Nigerian Polo Federation, Registered Trustees of the Kuduna Polo Club, Edu Honnah, Mohammed Kyari. Others are Abubakar Kari, Bashir Dantata, Jubril Ali, Lawal Kaita and Hadi Sikira.