Ogun PDP: Appeal Court sets aside order recognizing candidates from Kashamu faction
We will appeal decision in Supreme Court - Kashamu group’s lawyer
THE Appeal Court, Ibadan division, on Tuesday, set aside the order granted by a Federal High Court in Abeokuta, directing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to accept and process the list of Ogun State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidates submitted to it by the Chief Adebayo Dayo-led faction of the party for 2019 elections.
In a unanimous decision, by the three-member Appeal panel headed by Justice J. A Bada, the court held that the order and all decisions arising from the October 2 ruling by Justice Abubakar Shittu were a nullity because PDP and other defendants were not served the court processes culminating in the orders.
Justice H. S Tsamani, in a lead judgment, said service was a fundamental requirement and a condition precedent in any adjudication, stressing that any proceeding and order made on a matter where the defendants were not served would remain a nullity.
Emeka Etiaba SAN, who is counsel for the PDP in the appeal, had argued at the hearing of the appeal on Monday that there was no service of processes originating from the decision of the lower court on the appellants whom he said were not consequently given a fair hearing.
But respondents’ counsel, Dr Alex Izinyon SAN, had argued that service effected and filed an affidavit of service sworn to by the bailiff as part of the proof of service.
The bailiff, Bayo Seinde, had sworn that he dumped the processes at the legal unit of the PDP in Wadata, Abuja, where he said he met a few lawyers who, rather than accept the documents, said there was a general strike and refused to accept same.
But Justice Tsamani held that the claim by the bailiff in the affidavit showed clearly that service was not effected on the appellants and agreed with the appellants that they were denied the right to be heard in the matter.
On the position of counsel for the respondents, Izinyon SAN, that the case is a pre-election matter, Justice Tsamani agreed with the appellants’ counsel that it is not a pre-election as none of the respondents said they were aspirants.
He also held that Ogun State chapter of the PDP is not synonymous with the PDP headquartered in Abuja and could there not substitute the national PDP.
The Judge said for any matter to qualify as a pre-election case, it must be filed by either aspirants or the party as defined in Section 285 sub-section 14 a-c of the fourth alteration to the 1999 Constitution.
While the panel resolved all issues raised for determination in favour of the appellants, it ordered that the substantive matter be withdrawn from Justice Abubakar Shittu and re-assigned to another Judge by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court.
Speaking to newsmen after the judgment, a representative of appellants’ counsel, Matthias Ikyzu, said with the judgment, Senator Buruji Kashamu ceases to be the governorship candidate of the PDP in Ogun, just as other candidates from his faction recognised by INEC would no longer parade themselves as PDP candidates.
He said Honourable Oladipupo Adebutu, whose name the PDP National Working Committee had earlier submitted to INEC before the order, would be restored by INEC along with all other candidates duly elected at the primaries conducted by PDP NWC.
He commended the panel for what he called a well-considered judgment, adding that there was no longer any controversy about who the authentic candidates of the PDP in Ogun State are as far as the judgment was concerned.
But a representative of the respondents’ counsel, Mrs Ifeoma Esom, said Senator Kashamu remained the PDP governorship candidate in the state, arguing that the decision of the Appeal Court did not in any way affect Kashamu’s candidacy.
He said their clients were dissatisfied with the judgment of the Appellate Court and had directed that the decision be appealed at the Supreme Court.
“This judgment does not affect the candidature of Kashamu as the Ogun PDP governorship candidate. His candidature is predicated on the judgment of Justice I .N Buba of the Lagos division of the Federal High Court. That judgment is still subsisting and there is no appeal whatsoever against that judgment,” she said.