A disgruntled faction of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) National Executive Committee (NEC) has vowed to appeal the decision of the Federal High Court in Abuja which refused to recognize him as the bona fide leadership of the party.
Judge Inyang Edem Ekwo of the Abuja Federal High Court dismissed the lawsuit filed before him by the Olu Falae faction on Friday, claiming that his court lacked the necessary jurisdiction to hear the case.
The judge ruled that the leadership crisis rocking the SDP since 2019 is an internal party matter that his court cannot get involved in.
However, the leader of the aggrieved faction, Chief Supo Shonibare, who took the group to court, told reporters shortly after the judge dismissed the lawsuit that his lawyers would study the decision and immediately go to court. appellate.
“Definitely, you haven’t heard the last word on this matter. We are turning to the Court of Appeals to intervene in the lawsuit and we are hopeful that justice will be served,” he said.
According to the judge, the object of the lawsuit was an internal matter of the Social Democratic Party and the court cannot interfere in it.
He said that the plaintiffs are members of the party, that it has an internal dispute resolution mechanism, and that the party has the authority to amend its constitution.
Judge Ekwo stated that political parties should not involve the court in their internal affairs.
He added: “I believe there is no cause of action in this case as the issue is internal party affairs.
“I decline jurisdiction over this lawsuit, and enter an order to dismiss the lawsuit as lacking merit.”
The SDP, Chief Supo Shonibare and 10 others brought Professor Tunde Adeniran and 11 others to the Abuja Federal High Court in 2019 to determine the authentic leadership of the SDP.
Other plaintiffs who claimed to be part of the SDP’s national and state executives include Nasiru Naaba, Kelvin Damara, Saleh Dass, Cornelius Oreruan, Tunde Onokoya, Abubakar Babaiya, Hassan Adamu, Aniekwe Ikechukwu, Isaac Bello, and Mohammed Ibrahim.
Professor Tunde Adeniran, Shehu Gaban, Emeka Atuma, Professor Rufai Alkali, Marian Tolopari, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, Senator Ebenezer Ikeyina, Senator Erin Henshaw, David Umah, Stanley Nnanka, Joseph Achile and INEC are listed as the accused. 1 to 12, respectively. .
In the complaint marked FHA/A/ABJ/CS/1358/2019, the plaintiffs claimed that they were elected at the party’s national convention on March 9, 2016 for four years and would step down on March 8, 2020.
They claimed their term had not expired when Professor Tunde Adeniran and his group hijacked the party in 2018, claiming they were appointed at the party’s 2018 national convention.
Shonibare, who claimed to be the party’s interim national chairman after chief Olu Falae resigned in 2019, insisted no party officials were chosen in 2018.
In addition, the plaintiffs who based their claim to office on the provisions of the party’s 2012 Constitution pointed out that neither the 2012 Constitution nor the one allegedly adopted by Falae and others allowed for the appointment of NEC members.
They urged the court to rule that the first through eleventh defendants do not represent the genuine leadership of the SDP.
However, Defendants 1, 2, 4, 9 and 11, represented by Peter Nwata, informed the court that Plaintiffs 2 through 12 lacked locus standi to bring legal action in the first place and that their names should be removed from The suit.
INEC argued in its opposition to the claim that the plaintiffs’ case was time-barred due to the provisions of Section 251 of the 1999 Constitution as amended and that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter.