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Adebutu vs Kashamu: Court of Appeal reserves till Tuesday judgment in Ogun State PDP crisis

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The Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital today (Monday) reserved judgment till tomorrow (Tuesday) in the appeal filed by the pro-Ladi Adebutu national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against the orders of the Federal High Court, Abeokuta, in favour of the Engr. Adebayo Dayo-led Ogun State PDP Exco.

Buruji Kashamu
Buruji Kashamu

The pro-Adebutu national leadership of the party filed the appeal against the orders of the Federal High Court, Abeokuta, which enforced the subsisting judgment of the court in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/636/2016.

After about four different adjournments at the instance of the appellants, the Court of Appeal in Ibadan over the weekend fixed today, Monday, 17th December 2018, for hearing of the appeal.

Ruling on a motion for an interlocutory injunction after listening to arguments canvassed by the counsel to the Engr. Adebayo Day-led Ogun State PDP Executive, Mr Ricky Tarfa (SAN), who noted that the court had on the 28th of September, 2018 ordered that the defendants should be put on notice and adjourned till 2nd October, 2018, for definite hearing of the motion for an interlocutory injunction.
Tarfa said he was ready to move the motion because all the parties had been served and the court was bound by its records.

The Honourable Justice M. Abubakar Shittu went through the court’s file and noted that the court was satisfied from the proof of service and affidavit in support that all the defendants had been duly served but for reasons best known to them failed to file any document in opposition to the plaintiffs’ claims. They also 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 and in a brief ruling delivered afterwards, it held that the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs, having not been controverted, are granted as prayed.

In the ruling delivered by the Federal High Court, Abeokuta on the 2nd of October, 2018, the Court held, among others, that:

“An order of interlocutory injunction is granted restraining the 1stDefendant (INEC) by itself, its members, employees, servants, agents or privies from accepting, processing and or publishing (for the purpose of the 2019 general elections) the name/s of any person/s purporting to be (a) nominated candidate/s of the PDP from Ogun State or presidential candidate of the PDP (notwithstanding that such nomination is submitted by the National Executive Committee of the PDP or persons claiming to act for it) when such person/s claiming to be candidates of the PDP for the general elections is/are (a) product/s of any unity list or consensus arrangement which bypasses the prescribed electoral process of the PDP, particularly the electoral colleges constituted by delegates including the Ogun State delegates listed in Schedule A attached to this originating summons(as authenticated and accredited by the Plaintiffs) in attendance and voting pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”

Dissatisfied with the orders of the Court, the pro-Adebutu national leadership of the PDP filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan.

In the appeal, the PDP wants the court to set aside the orders of the Federal High Court, Abeokuta, in the judgment enforcement proceedings and order a reassignment of the case to another judge of the Federal High Court. The appellants’ lead counsel is Emeka Etiaba (SAN).

Lead counsel to the Engr. Adebayo Dayo-led Ogun State PDP Exco, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN), vehemently opposed the granting of the prayers sought by the appellants.

He said a party in perpetual violation of positive and subsisting orders of court cannot justifiably seek favour from the same court it had treated with contempt.

Besides, he contended that appellants had the opportunity to state their case at the Federal High Court, Abeokuta, after they were served and chose to stay away from the court on the 2nd of October, 2018, they cannot in good conscience ask the Court of Appeal to set aside the orders made against them in a judgment enforcement proceedings.

Izinyon, who leads a team of three reputable law comprising of Dr. Alex Izinyon SAN & Co., Mr. Ricky Tarfa & Co. and TRLP Law, submitted that if the appellants were dissatisfied with the orders made on the 2nd of October, 2018, the proper thing for them to have done was to appeal the judgment in FHC/L/CS/636/2016 upon which the extant orders are predicated.

When lawyers to both parties finished their submissions, the court formulated a question which it asked the counsel to both sides to address him on.

The Court asked them to address it on whether the matter before it was a pre-election matter or not.

While the lead counsel to the appellants, Etiaba said it was not a pre-election matter, Dr. Izinyon, the lead counsel to respondents (Engr. Dayo & co.) submitted that it was a pre-election matter as stipulated by the 4th Alteration to 1999 Constitution.

Specifically, Section 285 (Subsection 9) states, “Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Constitution, every pre-election matter shall be filed not later than 14 days from the date of the occurrence of the event, decision or action complained of in the suit.”

Izinyon noted that the appeal was statute-barred by the provisions of the Fourth alteration to the 1999 Constitution.

After a lot of legal fire works that lasted over two hours, the three-man panel of justices of the Court of Appeal, Ibadan, comprising of the Honourable Justices I. O. Bada (presiding), H.S Tsammani and N. Okoronkwo, adjourned till tomorrow (Tuesday) for judgment.

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