CANDIDATES’ LIST: IGNORE SECONDUS, OGUN PDP TELLS INEC

The Ogun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ignore the party’s National Chairman, Uche Secondus.
The party in a letter to INEC through its lawyer Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN) on Monday said the commission should not rescind its decision to accept list of candidates from the Adebayo Dayo-led executive.
The letter read: “ We act as Counsel to the Ogun State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, its officials and executives led by Engr. Adebayo Dayo hereinafter referred to as our clients and we have their unequivocal intructions to write you on the above subject matter especially against the background of the two letters to you dated Thursday November 1, 2018 signed by Prince Uche Secondus, National Chairman and Senator Umar Ibrahim Tsauri, CON, National Secretary which was a follow up to the earlier letter by their Councel, Emeka Etiaba, SAN, Etiaba & Co, which letters were seralised in some national dallies.
The first misconception contained in both letters revolve round the hullaballoo that your office “insisted” on violation of the Constitution of the Peoples Democratic, the Electoral Guideline and the Electoral Act and in disobedience of the Supreme Court Judgments on exclusive right of political parties.
“Firstly, the legal position of the power of the organ of the political party in the nomination/sponsorship for electoral position spelt out in all these cases including the Ayogu Eze’s case are inapplicable to the peculiar facts of the present case. In all these cases cited, the facts are not the same with that of our client.
“Both letter cited with brazen equanimity the recent Supreme Court case of Senator Ayogu Eze vs. PDP (2018) LPELR 44907, SC. In that case Senator Ayogu Eze in instituting his own case relied on FHC/ABJ/816/2014 between Barr. Orji Chineye Godwin & 2 Ors. V. PDP which decided the Adhoc delegates, using his own list of Adhoc Delegates to conduct his primary to legitimize the process. From the facts, there were two factions, and one faction in the primary was conducted by the National level officers.
“Indeed, from the excerpt of Eko JSC in Ayogu’s case, it was the issue of two parallel primaries election to elect the governorship candidate of the party (PDP) but in the present case the two judgments laid to rest the thematic scope of the Ogun State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party. It was not the issue of two parallels in a primary. As shall be demonstrated shortly in the judgment, the reliefs granted especially relief 7 clearly gave the legal imprimatur directing the Peoples Democratic Party and your officers as it relates to the 2019 general election to deal with our clients and the elected officers in meetings, congress/and or primaries.
“This was a Judgment in rem and binds the parties and the whole world.  There is no appeal against the Judgment as the only appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party against the said Judgment in Appeal No.: CA/L/864/2016 was dismissed by the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal on 4th May, 2017 based on the Notice of Withdrawal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party.  On the subsequent action by the Peoples Democratic Party to revive the dismissed appeal vide a Notice filed on 26th of May, 2017 seeking to vacate the Order of the Court of Appeal dismissing the appeal to relist the Appeal was on 11th July, 2018 dismissed by a unanimous Judgment of the Court of Appeal.  It is against this Judgment of the Court of Appeal delivered on 11th July, 2018 refusing to vacate its earlier Order dismissing the appeal that the Peoples Democratic Party appealed to the Supreme Court.

“Therefore the assertion that there is a pending appeal is clearly unfounded, lack any focality and no basis at all as the pending appeal relate to the refusal to relist by the Court of Appeal.   This said Judgment was later reinforced in FHC/L/CS/1556/2017.
“Despite these subsisting and valid Orders, the Peoples Democratic Party National body proceeded in utter violation of these Orders as represented above to produce other officers for the Ogun State Chapter as its weapon to defeat and make a caricature of these valid subsisting orders.
“The heavy weather of pendency of appeal and motion for stay will not render the judgment to be of no effect nor does it enjoin all the parties to return to status quo prior to the judgment of keep the judgment in abeyance as suggested, especially as Peoples Democratic Party continues in violation of the subsisting court order.”
Izinyon contended that the cases cited by the PDP and its lawyer do not have the same facts and circumstances.
“It is settled law that the ratio of cases cannot be pulled in by  the hair of the head and made willy nilly to apply to cases where the surrounding circumstances are different.  The position of the law is that in order for the decision of an appellate court to be applied to a case, the facts and circumstances of that case must be the same as the facts and circumstances of the case in respect of which the appellate court has given judgment,” he said.
The legal luminary also added that, “Indeed, it settled law that an appeal does not operate as a stay of execution of a Judgment.”

He said the PDP Constitution empowers the State Executive Committee to conduct congresses under the supervision of the State Chairman. “The issue of who has the power to conduct primaries and submission of list of nominated candidates for Ogun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party was no longer an issue which in ordinary cause would have resided on the National Body but has been settled and laid to rest in FHC/L/CS/636/2016. There is no difficulty in obeying and enforcing this settled position by the Court as shown in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/636/2016 which granted our clients’ reliefs and giving the legal stamp to Engr. Adebayo Dayo the 1st Plaintiff as the Chairman to function in that capacity and carry on all the functions of the State Party Congress as Chairman which functions includes to elect Governorship candidates of the Party.  This is supported by the Peoples Democratic Party Constitution 2017 (as amended). Section 25(1) of the said Peoples Democratic Party’s Constitution states clearly: “There shall be a State Party Congress which shall consists of: (a)       The State Chairman who shall be the Chairman. Section 25(2C) states further thus; “The function of the State Congress shall be to: (c)        Elect Governorship candidates of the Party.”

Izinyon urged the commission “to ignore the attempt to obfuscate the issue by both letters and we implore you to continue to accord respect and validity to the subsisting Judgment and the Orders of the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/636/2016 and FHC/AB/CS/114/2018 as you rightly did.”

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