Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has struck out a suit by the national headquarters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) challenging the powers of its Ogun State chapter to conduct party congresses in the state.
Justice Mohammed struck out the suit on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction to entertain it.
Delivering judgment on Tuesday in the national PDP’s suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/208/2020, the judge held that the suit amounted to an invitation to his court to sit on appeal over a question already determined by another judge of the same Federal High Court.
While declining jurisdiction in the matter, the court stated that the subsisting judgment delivered on June 24, 2016 by Justice I. N. Buba in a suit marked: FHC/L/CS/636/2016 has resolved the issue on whether or not the Ogun State PDP EXCO could conduct congresses in the state.
In addition, the court observed that parties in both the old and the new suits are the same and consequently went ahead to strike out the new suit.
In the latest suit, the national PDP prayed the court to, among others, hold that by virtue of the party’s amended constitution of 2017, the 2020 PDP Guidelines for the conduct of congresses, the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act, it is the exclusive function of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP to appoint congress committee members for the purpose of conducting elections into the party’s executive offices from the ward level to the national level.
Respondents in the new suit included Chief Adebayo Dayo, Mrs. Bimbo Lanre-Balogun, Sampson K. Bamgbose, Mrs. Mulikat Kusimo, Awoyemi Segun, Alhaji Kola Aknyemi, Hon. Bola Odumosun and Olasunkanmi Oyejide.
However, in his judgment, the court held that: “It is not in doubt that the court (the Lagos division of the court) was called upon to determine whether the plaintiff therein (Engr. Dayo), who is the first defendant herein, and the Ogun State’ Executive Committee have the power to conduct Ward, LGA and state congresses of the plaintiff in Ogun State.”
The judge further held that the main question determined in the 2016 case has rendered this case (FHC/ABJ/CS/208/2020) incompetent.
The judge, in holding that parties are the same in both cases, noted that the plaintiff in the earlier suit, who is the first defendant in this suit, sued for himself and on behalf of the Ogun State EXCO of the PDP.
He also noted that the national body of the PDP was the second defendant in the case decided in 2016 and that in the instant case, the national PDP also sued members of the Ogun State EXCO.
The judge said the parties in the instant case, having been part of the 2016 case, are bound by the decision in the earlier case.
Justice Mohammed said it is “the finding of this court that the issue in contention herein has been successfully and adequately put to rest by my learned brother, I. N. Buba in suit FHC/L/CS/636/2016.
“In consequence thereof, I find this suit as an invitation on this court to examine or review the decision of my leaned brother, I. N. Buba in suit number 636/2016, which invitation I will not accede to. I am not competent to do that.
“The plaintiff and all the defendants are bound by the decision in suit: FHC/L/CS/636/2016”.