A Federal High Court sitting in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday sacked a faction of the Peoples Democratic Party’s State Working Committee loyal to Gov. Ayo Fayose of Ekiti state.
Delivering his judgement, the presiding judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, ruled that the Williams Ajayi remains the authentic chairman of the party in the state and consequently dissolved the faction led by Chief Gboyega Oguntuase.
Ajayi had in aSUIT number FCH/AD/CS/21/2015 filed on May 16, 2016, prayed the court to recognise his own faction of the PDP in the congresses conducted in all the 177 wards , 16 local governments and the state on April 30 and May 4 and 5, 2016 , respectively.
The plaintiff further prayed the court to pronounce him the authentic Chairman of the party as well as order the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC ) to grant him and his executive committee recognition.
Joined in the suit were: INEC(1st respondent) , PDP(2nd respondent),Ali Modu Sheriff(3rd respondent),Prof Wale Oladipo(4th) and Gboyega Oguntuase (5th respondent).
Justice Taiwo also said the motion on notice pending at the appeal court over attempt by the 2,3,4 and 5th respondents to change their lawyer and appointed Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) , as the lead counsel was not enough to delay the delivery of the judgement.
The counsel to the respondents, Bimpe Olatemiju had drawn the attention of the court to a letter dated January 19 and deposited with the registrar of the court to the effect that the court should set aside the proceeding of December 8, 2016, when the written addresses were adopted and the need to stay action on the court’s proceeding pending the determination of the motion on notice at the appellate court filed against the Oct. 12, 2016 ruling of the court.
The court had ruled against the respondents’ their request to appoint Ozekhome as their lead counsel.
Justice Taiwo said: “A political party must operate within certain guidelines and when there is a crisis of this nature in a party, we use the party’s constitution and the 1999 constitution to remedy the constitution.
“It is not in dispute that 2,3,4,5 respondents were jointly represented, and not in dispute that 2 and 3 are members of the PDP.
“It is not also in dispute that 3rd and 4th respondents were still acting as the Chairman and National Secretary.
“So, going by the PDP’s guidelines, the power to conduct congresses at the wards, local governments and state levels can only be directed by NWC and since these people were still in charge at that time, any other directive or parallel congress by any other body is null and void,” Taiwo said
Reacting to the judgment, Oguntuase said he would appeal against it
“We will appeal the judgment. I plead with all the PDP members in the state to remain calm. In that judgement I saw humour and I didn’t see honour and candour
“How will you call yourself a Chairman when the governor is not behind you, when all the National Assembly members and state assembly lawmakers are not behind you? So, this is not the last court”, he said.