By INNOCENT ANABA
Lagos—A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, reinstated members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Southwest Zone Caretaker Committee.
The PDP zonal caretaker committee members had earlier resigned their positions to contest in a zonal congress, which eventually did not hold.
Plaintiffs in the suit are Ishola Filani (Ekiti State); Chief Pegba Otemolu (Ogun State); Adedeji Doherty (Lagos State); Rasak Akanni (Oyo State); Bolaji Jeje (Lagos State); Orimolade Olanrewaju (Ondo State); Olawunmi Yuba (Ogun State), Banji Obasanmi (Ekiti State); Shola Oludipe (Ondo State); Lawal Olatunde (Oyo State); Emmanuel Oladejo (Oyo State); Olalekan Abubakar (Lagos State); Seun Adesanya (Ogun State); Semiu Babatunde (Ogun State); Prince Tope Ademiluyi (Ekiti State); Tunde Olowofoyeku (Osun State) and Prince Omoniyi Alo (Ondo State).
Trial judge, Justice Okon Abang held that the plaintiffs could remain in office until a valid congress was held.
The 17 members of the PDP had urged the court to hold that they remained the valid caretaker committee members by virtue of a court order, arguing that the PDP could not appoint other persons to replace them.
They had prayed the court to declare that based on judgment delivered by Justice Abang on April 9, 2013, following which they were appointed as the Caretaker Committee of the Southwest Zone until the conduct of a zonal congress to elect new officers, PDP was not at liberty to dissolve the committee until new officers had been elected.
Justice Abang in his judgment, said “I hold that the plaintiffs can remain in office until a valid congress is held.”
He ordered the PDP to recognise the plaintiffs as the valid officers in the Southwest.
The court awarded the cost of N30,000 to the plaintiffs and also granted the plaintiffs’ prayers to the extent that they could remain in office until a zonal congress was held.
The judge said the plaintiffs were cajoled, tricked and forced to resign their positions under the guise of conducting a Zonal congress.
According to the court, as part of the guidelines for the zonal congress, the plaintiffs, who were members of the caretaker committee, could not contest for any office until they resigned.
To fulfill that condition, they had to resign, and since the congress did not hold, they ought to return to their positions.
The judge said appointment of any other person or persons into the caretaker committee of the PDP in the Southwest would be illegal and contemptuous of the subsisting orders of court.