-Cherubim & Seraphim tussel: court dismisses motion for stay of proceedings

LAGOS – A Federal High Court in Lagos, on Monday dismissed a motion seeking to stay proceedings in a suit by a plaintiff against the Cherubim and Seraphim (C&S) Church over leadership tussle.

The plaintiff, one Prince Adepoju Arogundade had filed the suit in February 2009, seeking an order reinstating him as rightful leader of the C & S Church in Nigeria.

Joined as first and second defendants are the registered trustees of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church, and one Mr Adebola Adewuja.

The third to fifth defendants are two members of the church, Remi Beckley and Mary Oshode, as well as the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

On May 21, the Defence Counsel, Mr Tunji Okunlaja (SAN), had moved a motion, praying the court to strike out the plaintiff’s statement of claim on the ground that it was baseless.

He had argued that the plaintiff’s statement of claim disclosed no cause of action against the defendants and should be stroke out completely.

Justice Ibrahim Buba had in a ruling on the issue, dismissed the defendant’s application on the ground that it lacked merit.

The judge had held that the application was an abuse of court process and deserved to be accordingly dismissed.

Meanwhile, Okunlaja dissatisfied with the ruling of the court had appealed its decision before the court of appeal.

Furthermore, he had filed a motion for stay of further proceedings in the suit before the Federal High Court pending the determination of his appeal.

Ruling on the motion for stay at the resumed hearing of the case, Justice Buba also refused to stay proceedings before the court.

He therefore adjourned the case to July 2 for continuation of hearing.

In the suit, the plaintiff had averred that the C & S Church was founded in 1925 by Capt. Emmanuel Abiodun and registered in 1930.

He said that the church had a constitution which clearly stipulated the mode of leadership succession.

“The constitution provides that after the death of a leader, the oldest in the church is to assume position as the next leader,” he said.

According to the plaintiff, after the death of his father, he became the oldest member of the church and by right should be appointed the leader.

Arogundade stated that rather than appointing him as successor in line with the C & S constitution, one elder Adebola Adewuja was appointed in his stead.

He therefore called on the court to declare the appointment a nullity, since it contravened the provisions of the church’s constitution.

In addition, Arogundade seeks an order reinstating him as the rightful leader of the church.

He also wants the court to restrain the defendants from further appointing a leader of the church, adding that the tenure of Adewuja had expired.

The plaintiff wants further appointment stayed until the substantive matter is decided by the court. (NAN)

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