Hearing in a suit seeking to sack 17 members of the Peoples Democratic Party National Working Committee could not commence on Monday, following a substitution application filed by the party’s National Auditor, Mr. Fatai Adeyanju.
Adeyanju, through his counsel, Oluyede Ajibola, had asked the court to substitute the name of the third defendant and former auditor, Bode Mustapha, with his.
He argued that as the party’s national auditor, he should be the one listed among the defendants, rather than Mustapha, who, he said, was removed from office following a Federal High Court order in Lagos.
Adeyanju’s counsel therefore urged the court to stay proceedings in the matter, pending the determination of the application for substitution.
The counsel presented a Certified True Copy of the FHC order, which reportedly directed the PDP to remove Mustapha from the office.
He also drew the court’s attention to a pending suit before Justice Adamu Bello of the Abuja FHC, where the judge had asked parties to stay action on a report by the Independent National Electoral Commission report.
Ajibola argued that the subject matter of the suit before the Abuja FHC was the same with the suit seeking to sack members of the PDP NWC.
However, counsel for plaintiffs, Mr. Jibrin Okutepa, (SAN), opposed the application, arguing that “an application for stay of proceedings can only be predicated on a pending appeal.”
Okutepa maintained that since Adeyanju was not a party in the suit, “the court cannot stay proceedings in the matter, where an applicant is neither before this court nor before Adamu Bello’s court.”
The trial judge, Justice Suleiman Belgore, adjourned the matter till July 4, 2013, for ruling.
In the suit, the plaintiffs, Abba Yake, Alhaji Yahaya Sule and Bashir Maidugu, are challenging the “election or appointment” of 17 members of the party’s NWC.
They want the court to nullify the emergence of the defendants as officers of the PDP because their election breached certain provisions of the party’s constitution.
In a 27-paragraph affidavit, the plaintiffs argued that the defendants’ continued stay in office would “jeopardise the workings and activities” of the party, “including the conduct of future nomination or election of candidates into public offices.”
The NWC members occupying the contested positions, by virtue of the originating summons are Dr. Sam Jaja (Deputy National Chairman); Solomon Onwe (Deputy National Secretary); Bala Ka’Oje (National Treasurer); Chief Bode Mustapha (National Auditor); and Umar Tsauri (Deputy National Auditor).
Others are Olisa Metuh (National Publicity Secretary); Dr. (Mrs) Kema Chikwe (Women Leader); Victor Kwon (National Legal Adviser); and Anunakar Mustapha (National Organising Secretary).