Alleged Contempt: Secondus, Others Appear in Court

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National Chairman of PDP, Uche Secondus

The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, and some members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) appeared before the Lagos State High Court, Igbosere yesterday to stop committal proceedings against them.

Justice Taofikat Oyekan-Abdullahi had on December 5, 2019 ordered the PDP Chairman and a member of the NWC of the party, Senator Ben Obi, to show cause why an order for committal should not be made against them.

The judge said Secondus and Obi should come and explain why they should not be committed to prison for defying its order.

The verdict was as a result of alleged disobedience to the court’s order of November 12, 2019, which restrained Secondus and the party’s NWC from conducting a special election for the vacant offices at the Lagos State chapter of the party.

Then, while ordering the contemnors to show cause for defiling its order, Justice Oyekan-Abdullahi expressed dismay that the PDP in Lagos state proceeded to conduct the aforesaid special election despite the knowledge of the case and pending application for interlocutory injunction.

The special election committee was chaired by Senator Obi at the instance of Secondus.

At yesterday’s proceedings, Francis Akinlotan appeared for all the claimants as counsel, with Emmanuel Enoidem and Wendy Kuku appearing for the respondents.

The four claimants in the suit are Dr. Adegbola Dominic, for state chairman of the party; Mr. John Babatunde Agbaje; Alhaji Fatai Ajisefinni and Chief Taiwo Kuye.

The respondents are the PDP, Senator Obi, Senator Biodun Olujimi, Hon Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe, Hon Danladi Baidu Tijo, Ahmed M Mukthar and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Akinlotan who appeared for the claimants informed the court of his clients’ pending applications seeking for extension of time to their written addresses and also to reply the preliminary objection filed by the respondents.

He added that he was ready to move the applications if court granted him leave.

The judge asked Enoidem who appeared for the 1st to 6th respondents and Kuku who appeared for INEC which is the 7th respondents if they have objection but the respondents said they did not and the court granted to move the applications and it was granted as prayed.

The claimants’ lawyer also informed the court that the contemnors on Friday evening served him an affidavit on their response to contempt proceedings but he was yet to reply to it and he still has time to reply.

He therefore urged the court to hear the substantive suit but the 1st to 6th respondents’ counsel objected, saying until all the pending applications which included contempt proceedings, the preliminary objection and other, the substantive suit could not be heared.

After several arguments on which application to hear first, the judge ruled in favour of the respondents and fixed March 12, to hear the contempt proceedings against the contemnors.