The Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of Ekiti state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) State Working Committee was yesterday sacked by a Federal High Court sitting in Ado Ekiti.
The court ruled that Mr. Williams Ajayi –led faction, being allegedly bankrolled Mr Buruji Kashamu remains the authentic chairman of the party in the state.
It derecognised the faction led by Barr. Gboyega Oguntuase which enjoys the backing and support of Governor Ayodele Fayose
In suit number FCH/AD/CS/21/2015 filed on May 16, 2016, Ajayi had urged the court to recognise his faction congresses conducted in all the 177 wards, 16 local governments and the state on April 30 and 4th and 5th May, 2016, respectively.
While seeking an order declaring the Oguntuase’s faction as an impostor and an order directing the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC ) to grant him and his executive recognition, the plaintiff also urged the court to pronounce him the authentic Chairman of the party.
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).
Delivering his judgement, Justice Taiwo Taiwo 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.
Lawyer to the respondents, Mr. Bimpe Olatemiju, had called the attention of the court to a letter dated January 19, 2017 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 October 12, 2016 ruling of the court.
The ruling was delivered against the 2,3,4,5th respondents on their request to appoint Ozekhome as their lead counsel.
Justice Taiwo said: ”Apolitical 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”, citing the case of Ugwu Vs PDP to substantiate this claim.
He added further: “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”, Justice Taiwo ruled.
Earlier, there was a fierce exchange of words between the Judge and the respondents’ counsel over the perceived attempt to arrest the
When the court has set for the delivery of the judgement, Olatemiju said the court can’t proceed because of the pending case at the appeal, which Justice Taiwo had objected by maintaining a position that the 1999 constitution forbids arrest of judgement and that this case would not be an exemption.
However, the judge later listened to Olatemiju’s argument and the averment of Plaintiff’s lawyer, Mr Niran Owoseeni after which he rose and came back to dismiss the argument to give way for the delivery of his judgement.
When Olatemiju sought the court’s permission to leave before the judgement was delivered, Justice Taiwo order him to sit down, threatening to report him to the Nigeria Bar Association’s Ethics and Privileges Committee should he refuse his directive.
Reacting to the jugement, Oguntuase said : “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.