The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has fixed for Monday, June 30, for the hearing of a suit urging the court to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognise Professor Olawale Oladipo as the National Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The plaintiffs in the suit are the state chairmen of the party in Ogun, Oyo, Osun and Ondo as well as financial secretaries in Lagos and Ekiti. They are Chief Adebayo Dayo, Alhaji Olayinka Taiwo, Alhaji Gani Olaoluwa, Chief Ebenezer Alabi, Dr. Tope Aluko and Chief Taiwo Kuye.
The defendants are INEC, the PDP and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola.
Prince Oyinlola was suspended and expelled from the party sometime in November 2013 but was reinstated to office by the Court of Appeal.
Dissatisfied with this decision, the plaintiffs proceeded to the Supreme Court to challenge the ruling. They also filed a motion at the Supreme Court for a Stay of Execution of the Court of Appeal judgment which reinstated Prince Oyinlola.
That application would be heard on July 6, 2014.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Wednesday, counsel to INEC, Vilba Kintai asked the court to strike out the suit for lack of jurisdiction, insisting that it was an intra-party dispute.
The commission argued that it does not recognize Prof Wale Oladipo who was nominated by the South West Caretaker Committee as the national secretary of the PDP because the party’s leadership had not produced any court order to that effect.
Counsel to Prince Oyinlola, Mr Gboyega Oyewole, also filed a preliminary objection seeking the dismissal of the suit. He argued that the suit is subjudice because a sister case exists in a court in Abuja where Prince Oyinlola is challenging his expulsion by the party.
The lawyer also noted that Prof Oladipo whom the plaintiffs want the court to recognise is not a party in the present suit.
Counsel to the plaintiffs, Ifeoma Esom, wants the court to dismiss the preliminary objections raised by the defendants. The plaintiffs seek an order directing INEC to recognise and deal only with Prof Oladipo until 2016 when a new National Convention of the PDP will be convened to elect his successor.
Counsel to the PDP, Mr Yamzat Yusuf has however told the court that he has only just been served with the preliminary objections and would need time to respond.
The presiding judge, then directed all parties to exchange and reconcile briefs before adjourning the matter to Monday June 30, 2014 for further hearing.