Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola
By Chuks Okocha in Abuja and Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
A new twist has been introduced into the appeal and stay of execution instituted by Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola at the Court of Appeal against his ouster as the National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by the Federal High Court presided over by Justice Abdu Kafarati.
In the latest move, the PDP has removed the National Legal Adviser of the party, Victor Kwon, as the counsel representing it for both the appeal and the stay of execution and replaced him with Chief Joe Gadzama (SAN) as the lawyer to represent PDP in both cases.
His removal may not be unconnected with the fact that he did not have the authority of the National Working Committee (NWC) and was not empowered by the party in the first place to file the appeal and stay of execution of the declaratory order of the Federal High Court.
In a letter dated January 17, 2013 by the National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, to Gadzama, the chairman stated: “By this letter, you are hereby instructed to represent the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and accordingly handle all processes and proceedings at any State High Court, the Federal High Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in respect of all actions relating to the decision of the Federal High Court, Abuja in suit No: FHC/AGJ/CS/504/2012; Chief Engr. Adebayo Bayo and Another V. Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and 2 others, and all other relevant and similar cases related to the nomination and subsequent election of National Officers of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the south-west zone of the party.
“This instruction supersedes whatever briefs or instructions already issued to any other lawyer or chambers of legal practitioners on the subject matter.
“A copy of this letter is being endorsed to the National Legal Adviser for necessary action.”
THISDAY gathered that the party has communicated its decision to the national legal adviser when he came to the Wuse II, Abuja residence of the PDP national chairman last Thursday.
The decision to stop Kwon from representing the PDP stemmed from the appeal and stay of execution, which were filed without the permission of the party. He is also deemed by the party, a junior lawyer with less than 10 years experience at the bar.
THISDAY further gathered that when Justice Kafarati issued the declaratory order, the party wrote to Kwon to seek his legal opinion, but he failed to give the NWC a legal opinion, thus explaining why the NWC had to write to Gadzama to seek his legal opinion as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
According to an NWC source, “The party wrote to the National Legal Adviser, Barrister Victor Kwon, to provide a legal opinion, but he never responded.
“Rather, we were surprised when we heard that PDP had appealed the ouster of Prince Oyinlola and also the stay of execution of the order.”
Gadzama was the lawyer who advised the NWC to obey the orders of the Federal High Court, leading to the appointment of an acting national secretary.
In his legal opinion to PDP, Gadzama had advised that the judgment was declaratory and a declaratory judgment cannot be stayed in the sense that if there is an appeal against the judgment or an application to set it aside, such an appeal or an application cannot be a reason to stay the effects of the judgment.