The National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Uche Secondus, and some members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) yesterday appeared before the Lagos State High Court in Igbosere over allegations of disobeying an order of the court.
The PDP Chieftains are facing a contempt proceedings for allegedly going head to conduct a special election into the vacant offices at the Lagos State chapter of the party.
Justice Taofikat Oyekan-Abdullahi had on December 5, 2019 ordered the PDP Chairman and a member of the NWC of the party, Senator Ben Obi, to show cause why an order for committal to prison should not be made against them.
The judge had ordered that Secondus and Senator Obi should come and explain why they should not be committed to prison for defying its order.
Justice Oyekan-Abdullahi had expressed dismay that the PDP in Lagos state proceeded to conduct the aforesaid special election despite the knowledge of the case and pending application for interlocutory injunction.
The special election committee was chaired by Senator Obi at the instance of Secondus.
The some members of the party led by Dr. Adegbola Dominic had approached the court praying for an order to restrain the party and other members from conducting the special election scheduled to hold on November 13, 2019.
The court granted the order but the PDP went ahead to conduct the election.
Apart from Dr Dominic, who is claiming to be the chairman of the party, other claimants in the suit are: Elder John Babatunde Agbaje, Alhaji Fatai Ajisefinni and Chief Taiwo Kuye.
The respondents are: the PDP, Senator Obi, Senator Biodun Olujimi, Hon Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe, Hon Danladi Baidu Tijo, Ahmed M Mukthar and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
At resumed hearing of the matter on Monday, Francis Akinlotan appeared for all the claimants as counsel, whike Emmanuel Enoidem and Wendy Kuku appeared for the respondents.
Akinlotan informed the court of his clients’ pending applications, seeking for the extension of time to filed their written addresses and also to reply to the Preliminary Objection filed by the respondents.
The lawyer maintained that he was ready to move the applications if court granted him leave.
The judge granted the application as prayed following no objection from the respondents’ lawyers.
The claimants’ lawyer then informed the court that the contemnors on Friday evening served him an affidavit of their response to the contempt proceedings but he was yet to reply to it and that he is still within time to do so.
Akinlotan, therefore urged the court to hear the substantive suit but this move was objected to by the 1-6 respondents’ counsel.
They argued that until all the pending applications, which included the comtempt proceedings and the Preliminary Objection are heard by the court, the substantive suit could not be entertained.
Justice Oyekan-Abdullahi, in her ruling, agreed with the respondents and fixed March 12, for hearing of the Contempt proceedings against the contemnors.
With Secondus in court were the National Organising Secretary, Col. Austin Akobundu; National Frinancial Secretary, Abdullahi MaiBasira and the National Treasurer, Hon Adewale Aribisala.
Others are: National Legal Adviser, Barrister Emmanuel Enoidem; National Vice Chairman (South/west), Dr Eddy Olafeso and the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan.