Thursday, 19 June 2014

Why we can’t recognise Oladipo as PDP secretary —INEC

THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has told a Federal High Court in Lagos that it had not recognised Professor Wale Oladipo as the national secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), because the party leadership had not produced any court order to that effect, as advised. Chairmen of the state chapters of the party in the South- West had, through an amended originating summons in suit no FHC/L/CS/122/14, asked the court to order the electoral body to recognise Oladipo. Plaintiffs in the suit are Adebayo Dayo, Olayinka Taiwo, Gani Olaoluwa, Ebenezer Alabi, Tope Aluko and Taiwo Kuye. The respondents are INEC, PDP and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, a former governor of Osun State. The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, had, on November 6, 2013, reinstated Oyinlola, the suspended national secretary of the party, with the electoral body obviously recognising him as the lawful occupant of the position. In its preliminary objection taken out on its behalf by Ijeoma Emeruem, the electoral body said the issue brought by the plaintiff was an intra-party dispute, which the court had no jurisdiction over. It also contended that the suit brought against it had no cause of action, while asking the court to either dismiss same, strike it out, or strike its name off it as a respondent. In the 12-paragraph affidavit supporting the preliminary objection, dated June 16, 2014 and deposed to by Vilba Kintai, a legal officer with the commission, the electoral body claimed that “the statutory function of the first defendant (INEC) does not include settlement or resolution of internal squabbles or leadership tussles in a political party.” It said it was the exclusive duty of the second defendant (PDP) to appoint its national officers, while INEC only keeps record of same. Justice Chukwujekwu Anieke fixed June 25 for the hearing of INEC’s preliminary objection.

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