INEC Merely Complied with Court Orders, Says Ogun PDP Faction

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Kola Ologbondiyan

Femi Ogbonnikan In Abeokuta

Adebayo Dayo-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State has debunked claims issued in a press statement by the National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan in which he condemned the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to comply with the orders of court in respect of the crisis the party’s primaries in the state.

The state executives committee loyal to the embattled Ogun East lawmaker, Senator Buruji Kashamu, in a press statement issued by the state chairman, Mr. Adebayo Dayo, pointed out that INEC did not accept the list of candidates from any state chapter.

Rather, he said the Commission merely complied with several judgments and orders of court in FHC/L/CS/636/2016; FHC/L/CS/1556/2017 and FHC/ABK/CS/114/2018, respectively.

“We make haste to add that the appeal against the over two and a half years old judgment in FHC/L/CS/636/2016 has since been dismissed by the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal (precisely, on May 4, 2017).

“A further attempt to have the appeal relisted was struck out on July 11, 2018 and a cost of N200, 000 awarded against the applicants. Therefore, there is no pending appeal against the substantive judgment in FHC/L/CS/636/2016.

“What is presently before the Supreme Court is an application asking the apex court to review the decision of the Court of Appeal not to relist the dismissed appeal.

“Clearly, the decision of the electoral body is in conformity with established norms and standards all over the world. It is in the interest of our democracy and the course of justice for everybody to obey court decisions. The Supreme Court has stated and restated this duty in several decisions beyond any iota of doubt.

“To re-emphasise and underscore the importance of the duty to obey court judgments and orders, we recommend the national leadership of our party and the general public on the decision of the Supreme Court in F.A.T.B. v. Ezegbu (1992) 9 NWLR (Pt. 264) 132 at 146, which relied on the decision of the English court in which it was held as follows:

“A party who knows of an order, whether null and void, regular or irregular, cannot be permitted to disobey it…It would be most dangerous to hold that suitors or their solicitors, could themselves judge whether an order was null and void – whether it was regular or irregular. That they should come to the court and not take upon themselves to determine such a question; that the cause of a party knowing of an order which was null and irregular and who might be affected by it was plain. He should apply to the court that it might be discharged.

As long as it existed, it must be obeyed.”

He further argued that even where the rules guiding elections in Nigeria stipulate that it is the National Chairman and National Secretary that should submit the list of candidates, that cannot be done in a vacuum and in defiance of subsisting judgments and orders of court.

“There has to be a state executive committee and structure through which the national leadership of the party operates. If the national leadership of the party decides to sidestep the authentic state structure and continues to act in flagrant disobedience of valid and subsisting court judgments and orders, it cannot justifiably cry foul if the court decides to rein it in – and INEC as a law-abiding institution equally decides to comply. “Tho