The Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital on Monday reserved judgment till Tuesday in the appeal filed by the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against the orders of the Federal High Court, Abeokuta, in favour of the Adebayo Dayo-led Ogun State PDP.
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 Monday, 17th December, 2018, for hearing of the appeal.
Ruling on a motion for interlocutory injunction after listening to arguments canvassed by the counsel to the 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 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.
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 directing the 1st Defendant (INEC) to accept or process only the list of candidates of the PDP for the 2019 general election in Ogun State authenticated by the plaintiffs as having emerged from primaries conducted by them for the House of Assembly, House of Representatives, senatorial and governorship elections and submitted by the plaintiffs or their authorized nominees pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
“An order of interlocutory injunction is granted restraining the 1st Defendant (INEC) by itself, servants, officials, agents or privies from accepting, processing or publishing the name/s of any person/s purporting to be a nominated candidate/s of the PDP from Ogun State for the House of Assembly, House of Representatives, senatorial or governorship election except those who emerge from primary elections constituted by delegates authenticated by the Plaintiffs, convened and conducted by the plaintiffs for the election/nomination of 2nd Defendant’s candidates in Ogun state 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 could not 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 firms 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.
According to him, “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 fireworks 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 Tuesday for judgment.