|former Osun State governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola|
The Peoples Democratic Party on Wednesday asked an Abuja Federal High Court to stay the execution of a judgment, which sacked its National Secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, from office.
The application for stay of execution was filed less than two days after the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, replaced Oyinlola with the Deputy National Secretary, Solomon Onwe, in acting capacity.
Investigations showed that as Tukur had adopted strategies to ensure that Oyinlola did not return as national secretary, most members of the National Working Committee were determined to save him.
While the PDP chairman is loyal to President Goodluck Jonathan, most members of the NWC are backed by PDP governors and former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The PUNCH had on Wednesday reported that Tukur planned to hold a congress in the South-West, where Oyinlola’s replacement would be picked.
The move is part of measures to seize the control of the party in the South-West from Obasanjo and the PDP governors.
The statement, which announced the appointment of Onwe on Monday was not signed by the National Publicity Secretary, who usually issued such statements.
Investigations showed that most NWC members strongly felt that the best way to save Oyinlola, a former Osun State governor, was to file the suit.
A member of the NWC, who pleaded anonymity, said, “The NWC will resist any move by Tukur to hurriedly hold a congress that will replace Oyinlola in the South-West.”
But another member of the NWC, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the party decided to defend Oyinlola because it was also a defendant in the case that led to his sacking by the FHC last Friday.
He said the need to file the application for stay of execution was discussed at a meeting the members of the NWC held with Tukur at his residence on Tuesday.
Tukur, he said, had nothing personal against Oyinlola as he believed that the party should defend him in court.
The source added that since the party did not take Oyinlola to court, it must come to his aid by defending him and not using the Friday judgment as a vendetta .
The source said, “Yes, we have to come to his aid by filing the papers to suspend the implementation of the judgment. It is a normal thing in any court case.
A very close source close to the PDP argued that by filing the application for stay of execution, the party’s leadership headed by Tukur had made a U-turn on its perceived rush to get Oyinlola out of the way.
“What happened today(Wednesday) is a U-turn by the PDP leadership. They initially put the cart before the house. They should have asked for stay of execution of the FHC judgment before rushing to replace Oyinlola with Onwe as the acting national secretary of the party,” he told one of our correspondents in Abuja.
The application for stay of execution of the judgment was filed by the party’s counsel, Mr. Victory Kwon, pursuant to Order 32, rules 1, 2 and 4(1), and Order 56, Rule 1 of the Court (Civil Procedure) and Section 36(1) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
In the application, the PDP asked the court for an order of injunction restraining the beneficiaries of the judgment “from giving effect to, or otherwise seeking the enforcement of the judgment of the court delivered on January 11, 2013, pending the hearing and determination of its appeal before the court.”
The party also wants stay of execution of all orders of the court granted by way of reliefs contained in the judgment of the FHC, pending the determination of the appeal.
The PDP premised the application marked FHC/ABJ/CS/504, on the grounds that it was dissatisfied with the judgment of the court, and had already appealed against it.
Furthermore, it stressed that it raised substantial and arguable issues of law in the appeal.
The party also maintained that by Order 32 rules 1,2 and 4(1) and Order 56, rule 1 of the Federal High Court rules, 2009, the court is empowered to stay the execution of all orders granted by way of relief contained in the FHC judgment.
PDP held that if the application was granted, its appeal would not be rendered negatory and the appellate court would not be in a situation of helplessness.
It also argued that the refusal of the application would prevent a return to status quo if the appeal succeeded.
The former governor had also approached the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, in a bid to reverse his sacking from office.
Oyinlola appealed the FHC judgment in a notice of appeal dated January 11, 2013, which was filed by his counsel, Otunba Kunle Kalejaye (SAN).
In the grounds of appeal, Oyinlola’s counsel argued that the judgment of the FHC was against the weight of evidence.
He maintained that the FHC erred in law by assuming jurisdiction of the matter.
He therefore asked the Appeal court for “an order reversing the judgment of the trial Judge”, as well as “an order striking out and or dismissing the entire action with costs.”
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission has said it has not received any request from the PDP, to delist Oyinlola’s name from its records.
A national newspaper(not The PUNCH) had on Wednesday reported that the PDP had told INEC to delist Oyinlola’s name as the party’s national secretary.
But the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu, said the commission had not received any letter to that effect from the PDP.