The Federal High court sitting in Ado Ekiti, on Friday dismissed a suit challenging the conduct of the March 7, 2020 People’s Democratic Party (PDP) ward Congress in Ekiti State, by the National Working Committee(NWC).
In what seems like a temporary relief to the ward Chairmen that emerged from former Governor Ayodele Fayose’s faction, the court upheld the preliminary objection raised concerning the justiciability of the case.
The defendants in its objection filed against the case instituted by the group loyal to Senator Biodun Olujimi said the principle of fair hearing has been violated on the strength that the ward Chairmen allegedly recognised by the NWC, were not joined as defendants.
The case with suit number FHC/AD/ CS 14/2020, filed by one Olalekan Oladimeji and others, urged the court to invalidate the Congress conducted by Haruna Mani-led PDP Committee, on the premise that the 1st and 4th defendants breached the provisions of the PDP and 1999 constitutions as well as the Electoral Act.
Joined in the suit were: the PDP(1st defendant), Independent National Electoral Commission(2nd), Inspector General of Police (3rd), Taraba State Deputy Governor and Chairman of the Congress Committee, Haruna Mani(4th) and Chairman of the Congress appeal Committee, Chief Olusola Akanmode and others (5th).
Delivering her verdict on the issue of preliminary objection, Justice N. U. Agomoh, said she agreed with the argument canvassed by the defendants that the ward chairmen, whose elections were being contested in court were necessary parties and ought to have been joined as defendants in the suit.
She said: “On this issue of non-joinder of the real defendants, I have not seen anything in this relief that will turn the table in favour of the plaintiffs, because the relief is already settled in law. ”
Justice Agomoh awarded a cost of N200,000 against the plaintiffs, which is to be paid to the 1st, 4th and 5th defendants on or before 1st September 2020.
In his response to the judgement, the Counsel to the plaintiffs, Stephen Ademuagun said his clients would appeal the case.
Meanwhile, a leading group within the Ekiti PDP, Link Forum has called on the two leaders of the party to embrace peace and work together in the interest of the party, saying there was no winner nor loser.
In a statement shortly after the judgement and signed by the group’s chairman Honourable Fatai Adeyemo said there was a need for the party to put the past behind and form a formidable opposition party to the ruling APC ahead of the 2022 governorship poll.
“Today’s judgement on the Match 7,2020 congresses indicates that there is no victor, no vanquish which means the process of genuine reconciliation should start now in the interest of Ekiti State PDP
“I want to call on the supporters of these gladiators to refrain from inflammatory statements capable of further heating up the polity as we move gradually to the electioneering period because presently, APC is our main opposition and they should see it as such,” Adeyemo said.
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