Femi Ogbonnikan in Abeokuta
A Federal High Court sitting in Abeokuta at the weekend directed the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to accept the list of candidates the State Executive Committee (SEC) led by Mr. Adebayo Dayo submitted in respect of the 2019 general election.
The court, equally, directed the PDP and INEC to accept the list of candidates, which the executive committee submitted in respect of the 2018 National Convention it conducted in Port-Harcourt, the Rivers State capital yesterday.
The presiding judge, Justice Abubakar Shittu gave the order in a ruling he delivered on Friday after considering an application filed by the Dayo executive committee, seeking to set aside an early order the court gave on October 2.
Ogun PDP had produced two State Executive Committees. While Dayo executive committee enjoys the backing of the lawmaker representing Ogun East Senatorial District, Senator Buruji Kashamu, the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus recognises a faction led by Mr. Sikirulai Ogundele.
As a result of the rift in the party chapter, the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) in a letter last April directed the INEC to recognise the Ogundele executive committee, a development that compelled the Day faction to file a court action.
In its ruling on Friday, the court ordered the PDP and INEC to accept and process only the list of delegates and candidates submitted by the Dayo faction in respect of the 2018 National Convention and ahead of the 2019 general election.
Rather than setting aside an order it gave on September 28, the court dismissed an application by the Ogundele faction, thereby recognising the Dayo executive committee.
The court stated that it did not give any order stopping the National Convention of the PDP, but only directed the party to accord recognition to the list of delegates attached as Schedule A to the motion for interlocutory injunction.
The court, also, ordered all the defendants to accord recognition to the list of delegates and candidates submitted by the Dayo executive committee.
The court said the PDP and the INEC “are duty-bound to accept and process the list of delegates and candidates submitted by the Dayo-led Executives and doing otherwise, wound render nugatory the outcome of the convention.
At the hearing, counsel o the Ogun State PDP Executive, Mr. Ricky Tarfa (SAN) argued that that the court had on September 28 ordered that the PDP and INEC should be put on notice to recognise the Dayo executive committee.
The counsel told the court that he was ready to move the motion because all the parties had been served and the court was bound by its records.
The judge went through the court’s file, thereby noting that the court was satisfied from the proof of service and affidavit in support that all the PDP and INEC had been duly served, though but for reasons best known to them failed to file any document in opposition to the claims of the Dayo executive committee.
He said they did not send in any legal representation despite standing down the case for hours. After standing down the matter for hours, the court resumed sitting. In a brief ruling delivered afterwards, the court held that the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs, having not been controverted, are granted as prayed.
In its application for interlocutory injunction, the Dayo faction sought an interim order directing the INEC to accept or process only the list of candidates of the PDP for the 2019 general election in Ogun State as having emerged from primaries conducted by them for the House of Assembly, House of Representatives, Senatorial and Governorship elections.
It also sought an order of interim injunction restraining the INEC by itself, servants, officials, agents or privies from accepting, processing or publishing the names of any person/s purporting to be a nominated candidate/s of the PDP from Ogun State for the House of Assembly, House of Representatives, senatorial or governorship election.
It sought an order of interim injunction restraining the PDP from convening, conducting or organizing a National Convention of the PDP for the nomination of the Presidential candidate of the party without the authentic delegates from Ogun State listed in Schedule A attached to this originating summons in attendance and voting pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
It sought an order of interim injunction restraining the INEC by itself, its members, employees, servants, agents or privies from accepting, processing and or publishing the name of any person purporting to be the nominated presidential candidate of the PDP for the purpose of the 2019 general elections.