Three days to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Convention, a Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos on Tuesday refused to hear an application seeking to stop the party’s convention on Saturday.
Instead, Justice Mohammed Idris, adjourned the matter till January 16 to hear the plaintiffs originating summons and the defendants preliminary objection.
The suit was filed by a member of the PDP National Working Committee, Alhaji Adewole Adeyanju, Ogun State Youth Leader, Femi Alao, “National Delegates” for Sagamu and Ijebu North Local Government Areas Idris Muniru and Chief Tuke Omotara, Chairman Ijebu East LGA, Badejo Abiodun and Chairman, Sagamu LGA Kola Akinyemi, suing for themselves and on behalf of “PDP Ogun State Delegates to the National Convention”
The defendants are: the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), PDP, the party’s National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, Senator Ben Obi, Tunde Odanye, and 25 others.
The plaintiffs sought the court to hold that the PDP National Caretaker Committee cannot validly prevent them and other delegates from Ogun State from participating as delegates in the December 9 convention.
According to them, there were subsisting and binding judgment and orders of the Federal High Court in Lagos and Abuja delivered and issued on June 24, 2016 and August 10.
The plaintiff said by virtue of the court verdicts, only them are entitled to attend and participate in the PDP convention.
They urged the court to restrain the PDP Caretaker Committee in Ogun State from usurping the plaintiffs’ functions as “authentic officers of the Ogun PDP Executive Committee” led by Chief Adebayo Dayo.
The plaintiffs sought the court for an order of injunction restraining the party leadership or their agents from preventing them from attending the conference.
They urged the court to nullify the appointment of Odanye and others as PDP Caretaker Committee in Ogun State, saying their appointment was contrary to the judgment delivered by the court on June 24, 2016.
The plaintiffs further urged the court to order the Inspector-General of Police, the Department of State Services (DSS) and other security agents to seal off and close down the secretariat operated by the caretaker committee.
The plaintiffs’ lawyer Ajibola Oluyede said the defendants had filed their counter affidavits to the plaintiffs’ originating summons.
“There’s no impediment to the hearing of this application. It is a substantive issue relating to PDP convention scheduled to hold on Saturday, December 9
“So, it’ll be tidier for this application to be taken. The matter is time sensitive. We urge the court to hear this application,” he said.
But, PDP’s lawyer Dr Yemi Oke urged the court not to hear the application.
Faulting Oluyede’s prayer, he said: “This type of practice is not encouraging at all.”
He said the issue boiled down to a power tussle between Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and Senator Ahmed Makarfi, which he said the Supreme Court had resolved.
Counsel for the Ogun Caretaker Committee, Mr Afolabi Fasanu (SAN) said: “I’m objecting to the hearing of this application today. As at yesterday (Monday) they were still filing further and better affidavit.
“We need to respond by way of affidavit. We have a Preliminary Objection which borders on the jurisdiction of this court. In the light of the above, we’ll be craving the court’s indulgence to adjourn the matter.”
There was a heated verbal exchange between Oluyede and Fasanu following the plaintiffs’ counsel’s bid to have the case heard in view of the soon-to-be-held convention.
Justice Mohammed Idris advised them to “act according to law” and that the “conduct of counsel should be moderated”.
The judge said the plaintiffs’ Originating Summons and the defendants Preliminary Objection would be heard together when the defendants would have filed all their responses.
Justice Idris noted that the suit was urging him to interpret the decision of his brother judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba.