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Ekiti PDP Crisis: Court Sacks Pro-Fayose’s Faction

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Federal High Court sitting in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday sacked a faction of the People’s Democratic Party’s State Working Committee loyal to Governor Ayodele Fayose.

In the judgement, Justice Taiwo Taiwo ruled that Mr. Williams Ajayi–led faction being allegedly bankrolled by the Senator representing Ogun East, Mr Buruji Kashamu remains the authentic chairman of the party in the state.

The court thereby dissolved the faction led by Barr Gboyega  Oguntuase and members of his group.

Ajayi , had in a suit number FCH/AD/CS/21/2015 filed on May 16, 2016, urged the court to recognize his own faction of the PDP in the congresses conducted in all the 177 wards , 16 local governments and the state on April 30 and  4th and 5th May,  2016 , respectively.

The plaintiff urged the court to pronounce him the authentic Chairman of the party, also seeking an order declaring the Oguntuase’s faction as an  impostor and an  order directing  the  Independent National Electoral  Commission(INEC ) to grant him and his executive recognition.

Joined in the suit were: INEC(1st respondent) , PDP(2nd respondent), Ali Modu Sheriff(3rd respondent),Prof Wale Oladipo(4th) and Gboyega Oguntuase (5th respondent).

Delivering  his judgement, Justice Taiwo said the motion on  notice pending  at the appeal court over attempt  by the 2,3,4 and 5th respondents to change their lawyer and appointed  Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) , as the lead counsel was not enough to delay the delivery of the judgement.

The lawyer to the aforementioned respondents, Mr. Bimpe Olatemiju , had called  the attention of the  court to a letter dated January 19, 2017 and deposited with the Registrar of the court to the effect that the court should set aside the proceeding of December 8, 2016, when the written addresses were adopted and the need to stay action on the court’s proceeding pending the determination of the  motion on notice at the appellate court filed against the October 12, 2016 ruling  of the court.

The ruling was delivered against the 2,3,4,5th respondents on their request to appoint Ozekhome as their lead counsel.

Justice Taiwo said: ”A political party must operate within certain guidelines and when there is a crisis of this nature  in a party, we use the party’s  constitution and the 1999 constitution to remedy the constitution”, citing the case of Ugwu Vs PDP to substantiate this claim.

He added further: “It is not in dispute that 2,3,4,5 respondents  were jointly represented, and not in dispute that 2 and 3 are members of the PDP . It is not also in dispute that 3rd and 4th respondents were still acting as the chairman and National Secretary.

“So, going by the PDP’s guidelines, the power to conduct congresses at the wards, local governments and state levels can only be directed by NWC and since these people were still in charge at that time, any
other directive or parallel congress by any other body is null and void”, Justice Taiwo ruled.

Earlier, there was a fierce exchange of words between the Judge and the respondents’ counsel over the perceived attempt to arrest the judgement.

When the court has set for  the delivery of the judgement, Olatemiju said the court can’t proceed because of the pending case at the appeal, which Justice Taiwo had objected by maintaining a position that the 1999 constitution forbids arrest of judgement and that this case would not be an exemption.

However, the judge later  listened to Olatemiju’s argument and the averment of Plaintiff’s lawyer, Mr Niran Owoseeni after which he rose and came back to  dismiss  the argument to give way for the delivery of his judgement.

When Olatemiju sought the court’s permission to leave before the judgement was delivered, Justice Taiwo ordered him to sit down, threatening to report him to the Nigeria Bar Association’s Ethics and Privileges Committee should he refuse his directive.

Reacting to the jugement, Oguntuase said : “We will appeal the judgment. I plead with all the PDP members in the state to remain calm. In that judgement, I saw humour and I didn’t see honour and candour.

“How will you call yourself a Chairman when the governor is not behind you, when all the National Assembly members and state assembly lawmakers are not behind  you? So, this is not the last court”, he fumed.

 

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