By Ikechukwu Nnochin, Abuja
An Abuja high court yesterday, fixed November 29, to deliver ruling on a suit praying it to sack all the executive members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Oyo state from office.
Presiding Justice Hussein Baba fixed the date yesterday, even as the PDP challenged the jurisdiction of the high court to entertain a matter that it said bothered on the domestic affair of a political party.
The suit, which was filed by a Board of Trustee member of the party in Oyo state, Lekan Balogun, is seeking to void a congress of the PDP held in that state on February 28, 2010.
The plaintiff is contending that the said congress was held in defiance to a subsisting court order, insisting that the national working committee of the party, refused to obey a directive from the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, ordering the party via two separate letters, to organize a fresh congress in Oyo state.
He is, therefore, asking the high court to not only oust the incumbent state chairman of the PDP in Oyo state, Deji Afolabi, as well as the secretary, Bashiru Akombi, from office, but to also declare all the decisions they have taken so far in that state, a nullity, contending that their continue stay in office was unconstitutional and illegal.
Arguing the matter in court yesterday, counsel to the plaintiff, Akintola Adeniyi, SAN, relied on the provisions of section 87 of the Electoral Act, to insist that the Abuja high court has the jurisdiction to sack the executives from office as well as order the party to hold a fresh congress in that state.
However, the PDP in a preliminary objection it filed against the suit challenged the jurisdiction of an Abuja high court to hear a matter it contended took place outside the federal capital territory, just as it prayed presiding Justice Baba to hands-off the case.
The party also prayed the court to go ahead an award substantial cost against the plaintiff, to serve as a deterrent to others.
Chief Akin Olyimi, SAN, who represented the PDP in court yesterday, also queried the legality of the suit, stressing that there was already a similar matter pending before a high court sitting in Ibadan.
He insisted that the plaintiff should have taken the matter before an Oyo state high court instead of Abuja, maintaining that the instant case constituted an abuse of court process.
Counsel to the embattled executives of the party, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN, while adopting the same arguments, prayed the court to dismiss the suit for grossly lacking in merit.
After listening to arguments from both parties yesterday, Justice Baba adjourned the case till November 29 for ruling.