Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola
By Chuks Okocha, with agency reports
The sacked National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olagunsoye Oyinlola, may not be back in office so soon, as the legal battle to get a stay of execution on the January 14 order by a Federal High Court that removed him from office might end up a futile exercise.
PDP lead counsel, Mr. Joe Kyari-Gadzama, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said Tuesday that Oyinlola’s bid to make the Court of Appeal reverse the decision of the lower court had been “overtaken by events.”
Notwithstanding his removal, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said in its records, Oyinlola still remained the PDP national secretary because it had not been served with the court order.
The party’s National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, who appointed Kyari-Gadzama to represent PDP in all cases concerning the legal dispute over the zonal congress of the party in the South-west that consumed Oyinlola, however, has also said there was no crisis in the party as he had forgiven some members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) who rebelled against him.
Oyinlola had gone to the Court of Appeal to challenge the judgment of the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, which ordered his removal as the party’s national secretary.
He had also filed an application seeking a stay on the execution of the court's order.
The PDP also went back to the Federal High Court asking it to suspend its judgment pending the determination of the appeal against the ruling.
Kyari-Gadzama, while fielding questions from reporters in Abuja, stated that the PDP’s application for a stay of execution, which was slated for hearing tomorrow, might not be heard again because it is “technically dead”.
“The stay is slated for hearing on Thursday which, ironically, is a public holiday, and even at that, the action which the application sought to stay its execution has been overtaken by events as an acting national secretary has already been sworn in.
“So what I think we would do is to concentrate on the appeal before the Court of Appeal as the stay of execution could be said to be technically dead,” he explained.
In its reaction to the legal tussle over the PDP national secretary’s sack, INEC said it had not been served with the court order on Oyinlola’s removal.
Mr. Kayode Idowu, Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that there was a need for such an order to be served on INEC before it can remove Oyinlola’s name as the PDP national secretary.
He said that a specific order had to be obtained and studied to know the steps to be taken by INEC.
“There has not been any specific order with regards to Oyinlola’s removal and if there is an order directing the commission to remove his name as national secretary, then INEC will comply,” he said.
Idowu added that the PDP had not written to the commission on Oyinlola’s removal.
The PDP national chairman Tuesday continued to douse tension in the party as he declared that he had forgiven the 10 NWC members who worked against him on the crisis in the Adamawa State chapter of the party.
“I am a father, once you look forward, you don’t look back again. We are one and we can all make mistakes,” he said.
He also refuted rumours of a face-off with PDP governors, saying, “No, there is no crisis. All my governors are my people.”
Tukur refused to discuss the merger talks by other opposition parties, saying, “Go and ask those engaged in merger talks, my job is to work for PDP,” insisting that PDP was not afraid of any merger plans.