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Osun guber election: Court asked to stop fresh PDP wards’ congresses

THE elected Ward Delegates of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State in 2017 has asked a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory to restrain the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its national chairman, Uche Secondus from organising any fresh Ward Congress in any wards in Osun State and to affirm the October 22, 2017 Ward Congress of the party conducted in in the state.

The elected delegates, in their Originating Summons, which has Fayemi Simeon, Ayodele Akinwumi, Akinbade Jimoh, Hon Bamidele Adeniyi Sunday and Adeshina Ibrahim as claimants, joined the national chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus, the party and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as defendants.

The claimants want the court to restrain the PDP and its national chairman from organising any fresh Ward Congress in any wards in Osun State, except in Irewole, Ede North and Ede South Local Government Areas of the state.

They held in their Originating Summons filed on March 21, 2018 that the Ward Congress in all the Wards of the 27 Local Government Areas of the state, except that of Irewole Ede North and Ede South Local Government Areas of the state have been conducted and concluded by the National Caretaker Committee of the party, under the supervision of INEC on October 22, 2017.

Feyemi Simeon and his group, who filed the suit, on behalf of themselves and the entire elected Ward Delegates of the Osun PDP, want the court to make an order of injunction restraining INEC from supervising the conduct of any fresh Ward Congress in any of the Local Government Area of Osun state, which had already been concluded.

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Already, Justice Jude Okeke handling the matter had, on March 27, 2018, ordered that status quo should be maintained by parties in the matter pending the hearing and determination of the case, so as not to affect the subject matter.

The Judge, while making the order held that PDP and INEC, who are 2nd and 3rd defendants in the suit, have nothing to lose if an order is made for the maintenance of status quo as at March 27, 2018, pending the determination of the matter, so as to ensure that the subject matter is not interfered with pending the determination of the two applications before the court.

“In the light of their foregoing, the court, in the exercise of its inherent jurisdiction, directs parties to maintain the status quo as at today (March 27, 2018) with regard to the 1st and 2nd defendants Congresses in Osun state, pending the hearing and determination of the 1st and 2nd defendants’ notice of preliminary objection and the claimants’ motion on notice for interlocutory injunction, the Judge held.

When the matter came up on June 4, the court declined prayers by the defendants to vacate its order made on March 27 and adjourned the matter till October this year.

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According to the court processes sighted by TribuneOnline, the claimants, in their Originating Summons marked, CV/1275/18, want the court to declare, among other reliefs that, fresh congresses can still be conducted in any ward in Osun state again, having ratified the conduct of the Ward congresses in the state by the National Caretaker Committee, National Executive Committee and the National Convention in accordance with the power conferred on it by Section 29(2) and 31(2)(a)-(d) of the PDP’s constitution and the 1999 constitution.

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The legal action by the Claimants followed signals from the National Working Committee of the PDP and boast by some members of a faction of the party in Osun state that the National Executive Committee had concluded plan to revisit Ward Congress in all the Local Government Areas of the State.

Meanwhile, the PDP and its national chairman had, in a Motion on notice dated March 4, 2018, pray the court to vacate the March 27 interim order of the court for the maintenance of status quo and to also restrain the claimants from intimidating the PDP with the court order.

PDP and its chairman hinged their motion on the grounds that Fayemi Simeon and his group filed the suit to stop the conduct of Ward Congresses in Osun State, noting that, “As at 27 March 2018 when the matter came up in court, the Ward Congress, Local Government Congress and State Congress have already been concluded”.

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They told the court that injunction cannot be used to restrain a completed act, just as they maintained that the court in Abuja lacks the jurisdiction to handle the matter or grant the order to maintain status quo as the cause of action emanated from Osun State.

According to them, the interim order made on March 27, 2018, made by the court constitutes a violation of Section 87(9)(10) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).

An affidavit in support of the motion on notice averred that the claimants’ suit was filed in bad faith to jeopardise the chances of governorship candidate of the PDP in the scheduled governorship election in Osun state slated for September 22, 2018.

According to the affidavit, as at March 27, 2018, when the status quo order was made by the court, the Osun state Ward Congress was already completed and that, there was no status quo to maintain on the suit and that it would amount to a miscarriage of justice if the order is not vacated.

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Source:: TribuneOnilne