CourtJustice Chukwujekwu Aneke of a Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday withdrew from further hearing of a suit by two factions of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State.
The plaintiffs’ counsel Ajibola Oluyede, had filed the suit against the Independent National Electoral Commission, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), its national Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, and National Secretary, Senator Ibrahim Tsauri.
The application included Elder Yemi Akinwonmi, Sikirulai Ogundele, Bode Bankole, Waliu Oladipupo and Tunde Alekuwodo.
Segun Seriki, Mrs Tuke Omotara, Nosiru Isiaka Giwa, Remix Bakare, Abiodun Sanyaolu, Kola Soriola and Oyede Elijah, were also listed.
In their originating summon, the plaintiffs asked the court to declare Seriki as the party’s National Secretary, in place of Akinwonmi.
They also prayed the court to order the national body of the PDP to recognise the Bayo-led faction of the party as the authentic executives in Ogun State.
But the defendants, in their preliminary objection filed by their counsel, Emeka Etiaba (SAN), urged the court to dismiss the plaintiffs’ suit in its entity for being incompetent and an abuse of court processes.
The defendants said that the plaintiffs failed to comply with the provision contained in Section 60 of their party’s constitution.
However, when the matter was called yesterday, after Justice Aneke had ruled in favour of the plaintiffs to hear the matter, the defendants’ counsel urged the judge to withdraw from the suit.
He claimed that he had ruled on the preliminary objection filed against the suit, which has not been moved.
Responding to their submission, counsel to the plaintiffs, urged the judge to discountenance the withdrawal request as canvassed by the defendants’ lawyers.
He said: “I can’t sit down here as a senior member of the Bar and see the court being discrete.
The politicians are at it again, and they are not worth fighting for. We should avoid the politicians using us to fight ourselves at that court. I urge the court to proceed with this matter.”
Justice Aneke, while withdrawing from the matter ruled: “I have noticed the defendants’ attitude on this matter since the first day, and the attitudes were appalling.
“The interest of the court is to be even-handed, but since the defendants have shown discomfort about my proceedings to the matter, I hereby recuse myself. The case file shall be remitted to the chief justice of the federation for a reassignment.”