Ogundipe urges court to halt hearing of Olafeso’s appeal
The possibility of the Southwest zone of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) creating another protracted crisis for the party after the national convention scheduled for Saturday, December 9 is becoming imminent following the request by the Chief Makanjuola Ogundipe-led Executive faction for an adjournment of the hearing of an application for a stay of execution of the order of the Federal High Court, Ado- Ekiti, Ekiti State.
The Ogundipe-led faction is thereby praying the appellate court to halt further proceedings in Suit No. FHC/AD/CS/18/2017. It filed processes at the Court of Appeal, Ado Ekiti Division on November 29 and the hearing has been fixed for today, December 4.
It would be recalled that the Eddy Olafeso-led Executive faction in the zone had appealed a November 8 ruling by the Federal High Court, Ado-Ekiti, which declared the Ogundipe-led executive as the authentic leadership of the party in the Southwest and also forbade the Olafeso group from parading itself as the Southwest zonal executive.
The court also forbade the Olafeso group from participating in the national convention as representatives of the zonal executive.
As a matter of fact, the development is one of the reasons other zones, particularly the South South region, which has insisted on contesting for the national chairmanship position despite the Port Harcourt agreement that the position should be micro zoned to the Southwest.
In a letter dated November 30, 2017 and addressed to the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Ado Ekiti Division, Ogundipe and Chief Pegba Otemolu said it is seeking a postponement of the hearing of the motion for a stay of execution brought by the Olafeso faction today, on Monday, December 4, 2017.
The Ogundipe-led executive said at no time were they or their counsel served with a notice of appeal before the records were purportedly compiled and transmitted from the trial court to the appellate court.
The letter reads: “As matter stands, the first to fifth respondents, Ogundipe, Pegba Otemolu, Lanre Orimoloye, Supo Ijabadeniyi and Femi Carenna have not been served with the Notice of Appeal and I have been advised that the notice of appeal, being an originating process, ought to be served on us personally.”
The group also argued that the implication of fixing the case for Monday, 4 of December 2017 (today) having served its former counsel at about 4pm on Thursday, November 30, 2017 is that the first to fifth respondents would be unable to brief a lawyer to file any response to the two motions before they come up for hearing before this court.
It also argued that it is a matter of public knowledge that Friday December 1, 2017, was a public holiday while the following days were Saturday and Sunday, which are non-working days respectively.
It noted that the hearing of the Appellants’ motions today in the present circumstances would definitely violate the first and fifth respondents’ right to fair hearing, saying, “It is in the light of the foregoing that I humbly request that you use your good offices to have the hearing adjourned to another date to enable the 1st to 5th respondents instruct counsel and be prepared for the hearing.”
The order of the Ado-Ekiti Division of the Federal High Court was based on the fact that the Lagos Division of the court had in June 2016 nullified the congress that produced the Olafeso group having been held in violation of subsisting orders of the court. The court had also held that the four years tenure of the Ogundipe-led zonal executive expires in 2018 having been elected in October 2014.
The order and judgment are yet to be set-aside on appeal. Yet, the Olafeso group wants a stay of execution of the consequential orders.Although, it is not yet certain if the Ogundipe-led faction would be able to vacate the appeal before the national convention scheduled to hold in five days time, The Guardian however learnt that in the absent of that the delegates of the Eddy Olafeso-led Executive may be recognised by the leadership of the PDP at the convention as it is the one it currently accepted.
A source from the party however told The Guardian on phone that the only way that crisis could be averted after the convention per adventure Eddy Olafeso-led team had its way is if a particular aspirants from the Southwest, which both factions appear to have a soft spot for wins the election.
According to the source, “Some of the aspirants are already showing signs to back out of the race, while others may wait until Saturday before relinquishing their ambitions.”
While reacting, Olafeso described Ogundipe and his sponsor as fifth columnists in the PDP, saying they are only doing the bidding of their paymaster to destabilise the party.
He appalled to all supporters of the party and those yawning for good governance to discard any attempt by group or individual wanting to throw spanner into the reformation of the PDP.