A five-man panel of the Supreme Court today (Wednesday) refused to stay the execution of a judgment in favour of the Senator Buruji Kashamu-backed Ogun State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Executives which is led by Engr. Adebayo Dayo.
The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos had on the 24th of June, 2016 delivered a judgment in which it upheld the validity of the Dayo-led Ogun State PDP Exco and ordered the national leadership of the PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) INEC to recognize and deal with the Dayo-led Exco till the expiration of their four years tenure in 2020.
Dissatisfied with the judgment, the PDP under the erstwhile National Caretaker Committee lodged an appeal at the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal. But after the Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal declared Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as the authentic National Chairman of the PDP on the 17th of February, 2017, Sheriff caused a Notice of Withdrawal to be written to the court on behalf of the Party.
On the basis of this, the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal on the 4th May 2017. A further application to have the dismissed appeal relisted was struck out on the 11th of July, 2018 and a cost of N200, 000 awarded against the PDP.
Further dissatisfied with the ruling of the Court of Appeal, which refused to relist the appeal, the PDP approached the Supreme Court asking it to reverse the decision of the Court of Appeal refusing to relist the dismissed appeal.
The national leadership of the party as represented by Mr Emeka Etiaba (SAN) and Dr Yemi Oke also filed motions for stay of execution of the judgment of the Federal High Court, Lagos, in Suit No.FHC/L/CS/636/2016 and accelerated hearing of the appeal.
Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN) led the legal team which comprised of Mr John Odubela of Ricky Tarfa and co. for the Engr. Adebayo Dayo-led Ogun State PDP Exco.
When the matter came up on Wednesday, the apex said it has no jurisdiction to grant the request for a stay of execution of the judgment as requested by counsel to the Uche Secondus-led national leadership of the Party.
The five-man panel of the Supreme Court, which was chaired by the Honourable Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, pointedly told the appellant that the Supreme Court does not stay the judgment of a trial court but that of the Court of Appeal.
Etiaba had prayed the Apex Court in a motion on notice he filed to stay the execution of the trial court judgment delivered by Justice Ibrahim Buba or in the alternative grant accelerated hearing of the appeal because of its adverse effect on the progress of PDP in Ogun State.
He contended that the judgment of the Federal High Court is liable to be stayed because, according to him, the judgment of the Supreme Court delivered in the matter of PDP and Senator Ali Modu Sheriff had put to rest the leadership tussle in the party.
Etiaba also pleaded for accelerated hearing of the appeal and the abridgement of time for the parties to file all their processes.
However, in a unanimous decision, the five-man panel of the Supreme Court agreed that they have no jurisdiction to grant the request of the appellant until the Court of Appeal has made a pronouncement on it.
This prompted Etiaba to withdraw the motions seeking to stay the judgment of the Federal High Court and accelerated hearing of the appeal. They were consequently struck out by the Court with a cost of 100, 000 to the three parties involved in the matter.
Justice Rhodes-Vivour, while striking out the motion held that it is incompetent and cannot be granted by the Apex Court.
Meanwhile, the court has ordered respondents in the matter to file their brief of argument within the time allowed by law to facilitate the hearing of the appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal refusing to relist the appeal against the judgment of the Federal High Court, Lagos.
Speaking on the implications of the Supreme Court’s decision, counsel to the 5th Respondent (Prof. Wale Oladipo), Mr. Ayodeji Makanjuola Esan, said, “The application was grossly incompetent and bound to fail ab initio. It is a very weak attempt to use the instrumentality of our courts to achieve an unlawful purpose. Predictably, it suffered a still birth.”