THESE are certainly not the best of times for the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). While its leadership is still grappling with the crisis of confidence plaguing the party over the seeming stalemate in the quest for a new BoT Chairman and acceptable executive committee in Adamawa State, the Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday sacked its National Secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, from Office.
Ruling on a suit filed by the Ogun State chapter of the party, seeking the removal of Oyinlola from office, Justice Abdul Kafarati held that the action of PDP and Oyinlola amounted to criminal conduct and liable to be condemned to prison, being a flagrant disobedience to two court orders.
PDP Chairman in Ogun State, Adebayo Dayo had challenged the nomination of Oyinlola by the Southwest caucus on the grounds that two court judgments had nullified the Southwest zonal congress through which he was nominated.
Listed as the defendants along side Oyinlola were PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Delivering judgment on the case, Justice Kafarati held that Oyinlola was not worthy to be recognised as the national secretary of the party and should vacate the office immediately.
He also held that Oyinlola could not have emerged as the nominee of the PDP, in view of the two court judgments that quashed the congress, declaring that an order of a court must be obeyed, whether valid or not.
Justice Kafarati held: “The conduct of the defendants constitutes flagrant disobedience to a subsisting court order and also constitutes a criminal contempt of court and any step taken thereafter by the PDP secretary is a null and void.”
He consequently dismissed the preliminary objection brought by the defendants, saying: “All the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs are hereby granted.”
Part of the reliefs granted was an order of committal to prison of Oyinlola, but the court did not make any specific order as to his committal.
Speaking on the decision, Oyinlola said the judgment would be appealed, saying: “It is a miscarriage of justice.”
The plaintiff had earlier argued that following the zoning of the office of PDP National Secretary to the Southwest, Oyinlola was imposed as the candidate for the position by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the then National Vice Chairman (Southwest), Alhaji Tajudeen Oladipo.
They further submitted that following the orders of two separate judgments of the Federal High Court, which nullified the Southwest zonal congress that produced Oyinlola as candidate, the former governor of Osun State should no longer be the National Secretary of the party.
As a result, they asked the court to declare Oyinlola’s continuous stay in the office as invalid, null and void, since his candidacy had been nullified.
The plaintiffs asked the court to compel INEC to conduct a fresh zonal congress in the Southwest.
They also asked the court to order INEC to delete Oyinlola’s name and replace it with that of another candidate that would emerge from the fresh zonal congress.
In addition, they asked the court to nullify Oyinlola’s candidacy and subsequent election on the grounds that he was not a valid nominee of the Southwest Zone of the PDP.