With less than seven days to the national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), another bout of fresh leadership crisis has reared its ugly head yet again.
This is as the Chief Makanjuola Ogundipe-led South-West Zonal Executive asked for an adjournment of the hearing of an application seeking the stay of execution of the order of the Federal High Court, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State.
The Ogundipe leadership stated this in a letter to the presiding justice of the Court of Appeal, Ado Ekiti Division.
The Eddy Olafeso-led faction of the party in the zone had appealed a November 8 ruling by the Federal High Court, Ado-Ekiti, which declared the Ogundipe-led executive as the authentic leadership of the party in the zone.
It also asked the Olafeso-led group to desist from parading itself as members of the South-West zonal exco and for it not to participate in the forthcoming national convention as representatives of the zonal exco.
But, in a letter dated 30th November 30, 2017 and addressed to the presiding justice of the Court of Appeal, Ado Ekiti Division, the Ogundipe-led executive said it was seeking a postponement of the hearing of the motion brought by the Olafeso faction on Monday, December 4, 2017.
Ogundipe added that at no time were they or their counsel served with a notice of appeal before the records were compiled and transmitted from the trial court to the appellate court.
The letter reads in part, “As the matter stands, the 1st to 5th respondents (Ogundipe, Pegba Otemolu, Lanre Orimoloye, Supo Ijabadeniyi and Femi Carenna) have not been served with the Notice of Appeal and I have been advised that the notice of appeal, being an originating process, ought to be served on us personally.
“Secondly, the implication of fixing the case for Monday 4th of December, 2017 (having served its former counsel at about 4pm on Thursday, 30th November, 2017) is that the 1st to 5th respondents would be unable to brief a lawyer to file any response to the two motions before they come up for hearing before this honourable court.”
The letter added that it was public knowledge that the 1st of December, 2017, was a public holiday in Nigeria, while the 2nd and 3rd of December, 2017, are non-working days, being Saturday and Sunday respectively.
It, therefore, submitted that the hearing of the Appellants’ motions on the 4th of December, 2017, in the present circumstances would definitely violate the 1st and 5th respondents’ right to fair hearing.
“It is in the light of the foregoing that I humbly request that you use your good offices to have the hearing adjourned to another date to enable the 1st to 5th respondents instruct counsel and be prepared for the hearing,” it said.
It will be recalled that the Federal High Court had ordered the Olafeso faction to stop parading itself as executive members of the party in the South-West.
The order of the Ado-Ekiti Division of the Federal High Court was based on the fact that the Lagos Division of the court had in June 2016 nullified the congress that produced the Olafeso group, having been held in violation of subsisting orders of the court.
The court had also held that the four-year tenure of the Ogundipe-led zonal exco expires in 2018, having been elected in October 2014.
The order and judgement are yet to be set aside on appeal, yet the Olafeso group want a stay of execution of the consequential orders.
It is also praying the appellate court to halt further proceedings in Suit No. FHC/AD/CS/18/2017.
It filed processes at the Court of Appeal, Ado Ekiti Division on the November 29 and the hearing has been fixed for December 4.