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Court Rejects Secondus’ New Suit Citing CJN’s Warning

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Citing a recent warning handed judicial officers by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Mohammad, over abuse of court processes, Justice Tijjani Ringim, of the Federal High Court in Lagos, yesterday, refused to entertain a suit by the embattled National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Uche Secondus, which sought to restrain the party and its national officers from calling, summoning or presiding over any meeting except the one convened by himself, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

Secondus, had also prayed the court to restrain them from calling meeting of any committee of the party, any congress of the party, the National Working Committee, the National Executive Committee, the National Convention except the one he called.

But, in ruling on the application, Justice Ringim, declined to entertain the suit on the ground that it was unripe for hearing and that the defendants were yet to respond to the motion.

Applicants in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/1117/2021, included Honourable Eddy Olafeso, Alhaji Rashidi Olakunle Sunmonu, Honourable Daisi Akintan, Honourable Bunmi Jenyo and Honourable Wahab Owokoniran.

Those joined as respondents were Secondus, Elder Yomi Akinwonmi (PDP Deputy National Chairman, South), Senator Suleiman (PDP Deputy National Chairman, North), Senator Ibrahim Tsauri (National Secretary, PDP), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF).

At the resumed hearing of the matter, yesterday, counsel to the applicants, Chimezie Victor Ihekweazu (SAN), informed the court that his client’s Motion on Notice was for hearing and that all parties in the suit had been put on notice.

But a lawyer, Mr. Chucks Ugo, announced his appearance for the party and Senator Ibrahim Tsauri, the party’s national Secretary (first and fifth respondents) while Mr. Oladayo Ilori, also claimed to be representing all the defendants except Secondus (second defendant) in the suit.

Both Chucks and Oladayo informed the court that they all had the mandate of the respondents to represent them in the suit.

Justice Ringim, after taking arguments on the issue of representation, however, held that the two counsel were in disharmony and could not represent a client.

Consequently, Justice Ringim urged the parties to resolve the issue of legal representation.

He also held that since the applicants’ processes were served on the respondents on September 2, 2021, the respondents were still within time to file their responses, adding that the motion was unripe for hearing.

The judge cited the recent directive from the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad, on conflicting orders issued from the courts and urged the applicants to explain to the court if the present suit was not an abuse of court process.

The judge, therefore, directed that the suit would be returned to the admin Judge for reassignment, as there was no urgency in the affidavit filed by the applicants to warrant hearing it during vacation.

The applicants were seeking “an interlocutory order of injunction restraining the first, third, fourth and fifth defendants by themselves, their servants, agents, privies or any member of the defendant whatsoever, other than the 2nd defendant; from calling, summoning or presiding over any meeting of the party whatsoever including the meeting of any committee of the party, any congress of the party, the National Working Committee, the National Executive Committee, the National Convention and all other organs or bodies of the party pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

“An interlocutory order of injunction restraining the first, third, fourth and fifth defendants by themselves, their servants, agents, privies, associates or whosoever from stopping, disturbing or in any way interfering with the excise or the continues exercise by the 2nd Defendant (Secondus) of the powers, duties and functions of his office as the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or from limiting or usurping his Powers, functions and duties as provided for under the constitution of the Peoples Democratic Party pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

“An interlocutory order directing the second defendant/Respondent to forthwith resume the exercise of all his Powers, Duties, function and privileges at the National Chairman of the first defendant as guaranteed him under the Constitution of the first defendant as amended in 2017 pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

“An interlocutory order of injunction restraining the first, third, fourth and fifth defendants/respondents by themselves, their servants, agents, privies, associates or whosoever during the tenure in office of the second defendant, from communicating, sending any correspondence or making any requests or establishing any manner of official contact whatsoever on behalf of the first defendant with the sixth and seventh defendants and all agencies or organs of the Federal Government under the supervision and control of the seventh defendant; other than through the 2nd Defendant or on his direction or authorization pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

“An interlocutory order of injunction restraining ‘the sixth and seventh defendants, and all agencies or organs of the Federal Government under the supervision and control of the seventh defendant, from receiving or maintaining any communication or request whatsoever from any organ or official of the first Defendant or acting on any such request other than from the second defendant or at his direction or authorization pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.”

Source: Thisday

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