“That judgment is still subsisting. The appeal was in favour of Sunday Bisi. No appeal is pending in respect of that judgment of the Court of Appeal.”
Much as I have tried to refrain from making any comments on the legal tussle within Osun PDP initiated by Hon. Olasoji Adagunodo, I have taken the pains to put up this piece so as to clear some of the controversies, mis-interpretations, mis-applications surrounding the issue and to as well purge the public of the media misgivings. Inundated by calls, messages, visitations as a result of the misinformation which greeted the outcome of yesterday’s ruling delivered by my noble lord, Hon. Justice (Dr). A.A. Aderibigbe, I felt compelled (indeed as a Minister in the temple of justice) to write this piece.
Hon. Soji Adagunodo was removed as Osun PDP Chairman in the year 2020 and by a resolution of the SEC of Osun PDP which is the appropriate executive committee in this respect, a replacement was made in HON. SUNDAY BISI and same was ratified by the NWC. Hon. Adagunodo or (His Excellency Adagunodo as now preferred by his loyalists to be addressed), instituted an action in HIK/25/2020 praying the court ultimately that he be re-instated as Osun PDP Chairman. By an ex-parte order made on 3rd November, 2020 by my noble lord, Hon. Justice S.O. Falola sitting at Ikirun, Adagunodo was re-instated as the Chairman while Sunday Bisi was removed from office.
The Defendants to the suit challenged the order by filing some applications which included preliminary objection, application for setting aside of the order, an appeal and application for stay/injunction pending appeal. On 9th November, the court at Ikirun converted the interim ex-parte order to a Preservative order. The affected parties went on appeal and by a decision rendered on 5th March, 2021, the Court of Appeal set aside the “whole decision” of Hon. Justice Falola.
Let me clear this point, the fact that a higher court sets aside the decision of a lower court does not make the lower court a bad judge, It only means that the higher court saw the issue raised from a different angle. In specific terms, the Court of Appeal set aside the mandatory interim order and deprecated conversion of same to a Preservative order. This invariably meant that the interim order should not operate indefinitely as the Preservative order suggested. Infact, the Court of Appeal expressly removed ADAGUNODO by declaring the order of his re-instatement under whatever guise as null and void.
Adagunodo appealed the said judgment to the Supreme Court on 14 grounds, and 8 of those grounds questioned the order of the Court of Appeal setting aside the Preservative order. Briefs of arguments were exchanged by parties in respect of the said appeal at the Supreme Court, but later Adagunodo through his counsel withdrew same. The effect of the withdrawal is that the appeal is deemed dismissed, and the judgement of the Court of Appeal removing Adagunodo still subsists.
HIK/25/2020 proceeded before another noble judge of Osun State High Court and I can confirm to you authoritatively that the matter is still pending because it’s subject of an order for a stay of proceedings pending appeal.
Now, here and there, while not wanting to belabour issue on the several suits filed by Adagunodo at different courts after the Court of Appeal decision, judgment in HIF/36/2021 before my lord Aderibigbe came, to the consternation of the whole world because no ilk of the proceedings was felt until sometime in December, 2021 when tee Group of Osun PDP aspirants (Senator Adeleke not inclusive) brandished same as the vehicle to bring in Wale Ojo (former Osun East Senatorial Chairman) as the Acting Chairman of Osun PDP. For the sake of clarity, the judgment which was delivered on 22nd November, 2021 granted the 5 reliefs prayed for by Adagunodo. The reliefs are paraphrased thus:
- A DECLARATION that a decision of a court of competent jurisdiction is valid and subsisting until set aside by that same court or an appellate court.
- A declaration that the Preservative order made by Hon. Justice Falola in HIK/25/2020 is still validly subsisting
- A Declaration that Adagunodo is Osun PDP Chairman based on the order of Preservative order made by Falola J. in HIK/25/2020 pending the final determination of HIK/25/2020
- A DECLARATION that Adagunodo be recognised as the Chairman of Osun PDP pending the determination of HiK/25/2020
- An order recognising all the actions taken by Adagunodo as lawful and valid.
Note that HIK/25/2020 upon which HIF/36/2021 was premised has HON. SUNDAY BISI, HON. AKANFE ATIDADE and HON. BOLA AJAO as parties, however, they were missing as parties in HIF/36/2021. Whether they were given fair hearing or not would be determined by the Court of Appeal and whether the decision in HIF/36/2021 can bind them is an issue to be thrashed out at the appeallate court.
On getting notice of the judgment at Ife, PDP filed an application to have the judgment set aside before that same court. By a considered ruling yesterday the 16th February, 2022, the court refused the application. That was what happened and no more! The option of appeal is promptly being explored by the PDP and by the other parties who were supposed to be joined but not joined at all.
Now, how the judgment of the Osun State High Court sitting in Ife is being deliberately and mischievously interpreted to have pronounced/affirmed Wale Ojo as Osun PDP Chairman is still a mirage and the portion where such pronouncement was made is still at large. Moreover, the judgment declared all actions taken by Adagunodo as valid and lawful, then how that has conferred an advantage on Wale Ojo or any particular group is also unfathomable. What has that got to do with the Congresses already conducted, being conducted and/or about to be conducted by the National Leadership of the Party? Is it the State Chairman of the Party or the State Executive Committee of the Party that conducts Congresses? What a miscarriage of political justice and a misdirection of political sanity! What an outlandish claim!
If I may ask further, in what ways has the Ife judgment displaced the State Executive Committee of the Party? Was there any pronouncement against the Ward Executives of the Party that are already in place as ratified by the National Convention of the Party? I agree that Ife judgment is subsisting (though now subject of an appeal and even appeals, and subject of a stay/injunction pending appeal), can Adagunodo which the judgment recognises be in 2 offices together? At what time did the SEC of OSUN PDP declared any vacancy in the Chairmanship seat and at what time was Wale Ojo brought in as a replacement? This is bad politics which turns logic in the head and lacks reasoning.
I saw many posts, many comments and even media reportorials which were distortions of fact and in my view amounted to professional misconduct on the part of the media outlets.. Radio, TV, print and electronic media inclusive. Any media house which reported that the court affirmed Wale Ojo as Osun PDP Chairman should take the courage by apologizing to the public and give them the appropriate information. Let them get a copy of the Ife Court judgment and make a return to the general public.
Before I conclude this piece, there is a poser: The Court of Appeal expressly removed ADAGUNODO by declaring the order reinstating him as null and void. That judgment is still subsisting. The appeal was in favour of Sunday Bisi. No appeal is pending in respect of that judgment of the Court of Appeal. Another judgment of the High Court which is lower in rank to the Court of Appeal recognises Adagunodo. The High Court judgment is now subject of live appeals and an application for stay. The said High Court judgment are declaratory and did not make mention of Sunday Bisi or any other member of Osun SWC/SEC, which of the two judgments would you follow if you were in the shoes of OSUN PDP and Hon. Sunday Bisi? It is now a situation of conflicts between a judgment of the Court of Appeal and a judgement of the High Court.
●Hashim Abioye Esq.is a member of Osun state PDP Legal Committee