…We Will Appeal Judgement- Elders Committee
A Lagos High Court, presided over by Justice Oyekan Abdullahi, has removed Engr. Deji Doherty as the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State, and reinstated former chairman, Dr Adegbola Dominic.
While delivering judgment in suit No: LD/3600/GCM/2019, Dr. Adegbola Dominic & ors vs Peoples Democratic Party & ors, Justice Abdullahi said that the judgement was delivered in favour of the claimants.
The court said that it considered the preliminary objection filed by the 1st-6th defendants and dismissed them for lack of merit.
The court said: “Consequently, the court considered the merit of the case canvassed by all the parties. The court held that the positions sought to be filled at the special election were not vacant. Also, the court held that the argument that the 1st claimant, Dr. Adegbola, held the office of the state chairman of PDP for 90 days has no place in the constitution of PDP.
“The court further held that the 1st claimant was duly appointed to serve out the term of his predecessor, who resigned.
“The court stated that the claimant’s failure to utilize internal dispute mechanism is not accidental as the defendants frustrated same. The court relied on the attempt made by the 1st claimant when he wrote a letter to the National Chairman of the party, and the letter was rejected. This fact was not contradicted by the defendant.
“The court further held that all the conditions precedent to conduct election into the party’s offices were not followed and that the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party had no power to conduct state and local government congresses.
“The court also averred that the special congress must fail, as there was no guideline from the NEC of the party.
“Furthermore, the court held that no notice of the special congress was forwarded to INEC as required by the Electoral Act.
“In sum, the case of the claimants succeeds completely. The special congress held on 13th November, 2019, was set aside and there were no vacancies in the first place.
“In addition, the court further held that the defendants’ act of conducting the special congress, despite a subsisting order of the court prohibiting same is contemptuous.”
However, the court concluded that it would not hesitate to use its big stick of punishment against the defendants if they again fail to obey the judgment herein.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Lagos State Elders Committee of the party and former Minister of Cooperation and Integration in Africa, Dr Bimbo Ogunkelu, said that the party would appeal the court’s judgment.
Ogunkelu said that the party will get a stay of execution and challenge the lower court’s judgment at the Appeal Court.
He said: “We don’t accept that judgment. How can a properly carried out congress be set aside by a court because some people are not happy? It is a miscarriage of justice and we will go to the Appeal Court. We don’t understand how the Judge came to that conclusion, that is why we will appeal.”
The former minister, speaking with journalists, added:” There is an advisory committee set up by the national advisory and strategy committee and there is also an elders committee that already exists in Lagos State, which was set up by the party.
“I am the chairman of the elders’ committee, and we don’t understand why the two groups were lumped together. However, what happened at the court does not stop the party from uniting and working together.”
While stressing that the elders’ committee was solidly behind Doherty, Ogunkelu said: “The elders’ committee is not comfortable with the judgment because there was a proper congress in Lagos State where a winner emerged.
“Dr Adegbola Dominic as the acting chairman was given a tenure of three months from March of last year to end by June, to act until a congress was held. He didn’t want to leave.
“He got a fake letter from Abuja which said he should act for three months. His point of contention is not clear. How the Judge came to the conclusion that someone who got a clear letter of appointment for three months should now act for nine months or six months, is not clear.”