A Lagos base group who identified themselves as Center For The Rule of Law, Equity and Justice has petitioned the trio of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Engr. Segun Oni and Chief Bode Mustapha over a plan to launch attacks against the judiciary who did not cooperate with them.
This was contained in a petition signed and address to CJN by the group executive director, Comrade Jamiu Agbabiaka and a copy was made available to NAIJA CENTER NEWS.
Read excerpt below:
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN)
Supreme Court Complex
AN ORCHESTRATED PLAN BY OLAGUNSOYE OYINLOLA, SEGUN ONI AND BODE MUSTAPHA TO BLACKMAIL THE JUDICIARY
We are a group made up of patriotic and public-spirited Nigerians whose commitment to the observance of the Rule of Law, Equity and Justice, irrespective of the socio-political leaning or status is unwavering. Our activities in the socio-political landscape are well-documented. It is a fact that we have had to intervene at critical times in the quest for a free and egalitarian society.
We are constrained to, once again, notify Your Lordship of a well-calculated and orchestrated plan by the trio of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Engr. Segun Oni and Chief Bode Mustapha to launch a campaign of calumny against the judiciary by maligning some of the best hands on the Bench as scape-goats. The major plank of their grouse is that since they could not get some of the judges to do their bidding, then they must be taught some lessons. They plan to use various faceless groups and fictitious names to write frivolous petitions against some high-ranking members of the Bar and Bench.
To be sure, these individuals are embittered that they are now holding the short end of the stick as a result of their sack by the courts for various infractions on the constitution of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the laws of the land.
Four weeks ago, we got to know of the invidious plot of these desperate politicians through a Good Samaritan who attended some of their so-called “strategy sessions” where the plot was hatched. For some inexplicable reasons, they were said to have got information that they would win an appeal that was pending at the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal in Suit No: CA/A/84/2013, and that after the court’s ruling which they said would be favourable, they would launch a series of campaign of calumny against some of those perceived to have stood in their way in obtaining “justice”.
Our initial reaction was to wave aside the information, knowing that Your Lordship and other members of the National Judicial Council (NJC) are tested and trusted people could not be swayed by some unfounded allegations being made by some equally faceless groups and individuals. We were of the view that if they are convinced of their allegations, they should be bold enough to come out and make them, rather than hiding behind some non-existent organisations to make scurrilous and unfounded allegations. Much as we hate to be dragged into the mudslinging by these political desperadoes, a most recent event – the judgment delivered by the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal as per Justice Amiru Sanusi and two others on 6th November, 2013 – which tallies with the privileged information we had and the events connected therewith have combined to make us formally write you, with a view to preparing your mind for any eventuality.
At this stage, it might be necessary to avail Your Lordship of the background to the fresh plot to ridicule the judiciary by the same people whose disobedience to court orders and judgment is well-known and documented. Now, the background to the extant issue is as set out below:
1. Following the complaints that greeted the congresses of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State in February, 2008, and the damning reports by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP in 2010 dissolved the then Elder Joju Fadairo-led exco and directed the harmonisation of the State Exco.
2. It was the harmonisation that produced the Chief Dayo Soremi-led Harmonised State Executive Committee (Exco) of the party.
3. The erstwhile Fadairo-led exco that was backed by the former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, resisted the harmonisation and went ahead to do primaries for the April 2011 elections, just as the Soremi-led exco.
4. This move later resulted in litigation at the Federal High Court, Abuja, where the court in a judgment delivered on the 3rd of March, 2011, upheld the primaries conducted by the Soremi-led exco as the authentic one.
5. It was on the strength of this that former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s candidate, Gen. Adetunji Olurin, stood election.
6. It might interest you to note that just as Obasanjo (who later promoted the Senator Dipo Odujinrin-led faction) brought Soremi as his candidate for the Chairmanship of the Harmonised Exco, he also brought Gen. Olurin.
7. After the April 2011 elections were won and lost, the party began preparations for fresh congresses to produce new excos at various levels later in 2011.
8. Suddenly, Obasanjo that brought Soremi as Chairman, and those who ran on the PDP structure led by the same Soremi, like Gen. Olurin, felt uncomfortable with him (Soremi) conducting the congresses that will produce successors at various levels.
9. They, in collusion with the erstwhile Vice-Chairman, Southwest of the PDP, Alhaji Tajudeen Oladipo, decided to set up a transition committee, purportedly headed by Chief Bode Mustapha, to, among other things, conduct fresh congresses in Ogun State even when the tenure of the Soremi-led exco subsists
10. This made the Soremi-led Exco to approach the court to ask if anybody could usurp its functions when its tenure still subsists.
11. The Federal High Court in Lagos in a ruling delivered in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1248/2011 on the 27th of Jan., 2012, said it was ONLY the Soremi-led exco that can act on behalf of the PDP in Ogun State and in fact conduct congresses.
12. This judgment was not appealed until the congresses were held in March, 2012.
13. After the congresses were held, and it was noticed that some persons were working to frustrate the Engr. Adebayo Dayo-led exco by excluding it from party activities, including the zonal congress, the exco went to court again to ask if the national leadership could rightly sideline it in view of how it emerged, having validly conducted congresses, according to the party’s constitution, guidelines and the earlier court’s ruling. Note that the congresses were monitored by the national leadership of the party, INEC and the security agencies.
14. The Federal High Court, Lagos, in enforcing the judgment of 27th January, 2012, on 27th April, 2012 nullified the South-West zonal congress in Suit FHC/L/CS/282/2012.
15. The court also in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/347/2012 ruled that the Adebayo Dayo-led exco emerged from a credible process and should not be sidelined or dissolved until its tenure expires in 2016.
15. This position was also affirmed by the Ogun State High Court in Ilaro on June 19, 2012 and August 3, 2102.
16. Quite naturally and in the exercise of their rights to appeal, the defendants – Oyinlola, Oni and Mustapha – at various times appealed against some of the judgments of the lower court. They got a stay in respect of Suit No.FHC/L/CS/1248/2011. By the way, the suit, on which a stay of execution was granted, merely re-affirmed the Bashorun Dayo Soremi-led Harmonised Exco as the rightful body to conduct congresses in Ogun State. And by the time the appellate court gave the order on 25th June, 2012, the Soremi-led had left office having conducted congresses in March 2012, and handed over to the Engr. Adebayo Dayo-led Exco. The question then is: can a completed act be stayed? That is, the emergence of the Adebayo Dayo-led exco.
17. Even if that were the case, does that give them (defendants/appellants) the right to go and set up a caretaker committee and also conduct fresh congresses which they purportedly did on August 4, 2012 – five months after the authentic congresses that produced the Engr. Dayo-led Exco?
18. Yet, the reports of the Ward, Local Government and State Congress Committees constituted by the national leadership of the party said that the congresses could not stand because of the “lack of transparency of the processes leading to the congresses and no INEC representation…”
19. Meanwhile, the Federal High Court on the 11th of July, 2012 delivered another judgment in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/535/2012 filed against INEC by the Engr. Adebayo Dayo-led Exco in which it directed INEC to recognise and give effect to the tenure of the party officials listed in the schedule to the Originating Summons.
20. INEC in a letter dated 18th September, 2012 and addressed to its Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ogun State, conveyed its decision to accept and relate with the Engr. Adebayo Dayo-led Exco in accordance with the judgments in Suit Nos. FHC/L/CS/347/2012 and FHC/L/CS/535/2012.
21. Again, the Engr. Adebayo Dayo-led Exco went to court to establish the legality or otherwise of the later congresses and the Federal High Court in a judgment delivered on 16th November, 2012, nullified the congresses from the Ward to the State level and ordered the removal of the Senator Dipo Odujinrin group from office because by that time they had forcibly taken over the party’s secretariat with the aid of over 50 hired thugs, armed with guns and various arms and ammunition.
22. It should also be noted that besides the judgment of 2nd May, 2012, which sacked Bode Mustapha and again nullified the South-West Congress, there was also the 27th April, 2012 judgment in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/282/2012 of the Federal High Court, Lagos that nullified the South-West Congress and by implication sacked Oni.
23. It was these two judgments that the Engr. Adebayo Dayo-led Exco took to the Federal High Court in Abuja in Suit FHC/ABJ/CS/504/2012 which led to the sack of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola. Judgment was delivered on 11th January, 2013 by Justice A. Abdu-Kafarati.
24. In addition to this, the court was shown how Prince Oyinlola had held it in contempt by issuing various letters and directives in contravention of the orders and judgments of the court. It was on the basis of this that the court held that “the various letters written by the 1st defendant (Prince Oyinlola) seeking to override the orders mentioned above constitute criminal contempt and interference with the administration of justice…”
25. According to the Ogun State chapter of the PDP, at some point in the struggle for the soul of the party in Ogun State in particular and the South West in general, Oyinlola, Oni and Mustapha, who had been imposed on the party as zonal and national officers of the party by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, feared that they were losing out and then ran to their godfather for help.
26. In a petition dated 15th of January, 2013, and addressed to the Acting President of the Court of Appeal, the Hon. Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, the Chairman of the PDP in Ogun State, Engr. Adebayo Dayo sought the constitution of an independent panel to hear Appeal No. CA/515/12 at the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal, which was in respect of the judgment delivered in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/347/2012, in favour of the Dayo-led exco. He alleged the likelihood of bias given an information he got that Chief Obasanjo had reached the Presiding Judge of the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal, Justice Amina Augie through his lawyer, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) and they had been assured of victory in the then pending appeal.
27. This, we are told, is the beginning of the problem of notable leaders of the Ogun State PDP with Justice Augie who vowed in the open court to use her powers to deal with those perceived to be behind the petition as reported in several dailies on the 18th of January, 2013.
28. We have information that since the other appeals before the Lagos Division were struck out by the reason of the filing of the Notice of Withdrawal of Appeal by the appellants, Justice Augie had been looking for an opportunity to get at those perceived to be behind the petition against her.
29. The opportunity came with the appeal filed by Oyinlola at the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal challenging his sack as National Secretary of the PDP.
30. We learnt that Justice Amina Augie had since been in constant touch with her brother judge, Justice Amiru Sanusi, who chaired the three-man panel that sat on Appeal No: CA/A/84/2013.
31. Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and erstwhile Speaker Aminu Masari were also said to have mounted pressure on the Justice Amiru Sanusi-led panel to set aside the judgment of the lower court that sacked Oyinlola. A whooping $1 Million (One Million Dollars) was said to have exchanged hands. Although subject to your discretion, it might even be necessary to invite the security agencies to examine their call logs to prove the veracity or otherwise of these claims.
32. Indeed, Justice Sanusi was quoted to have said that if he turned down the offer, would he live on a paltry N750, 000 (Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) running cost that he gets every month, more so when he would soon be due for retirement. Even at that, he was also quoted as saying that he does not joke with it and that explains why he personally signs the voucher for the money!
In the light of the relevant facts supplied above, it is clear that the series of litigations were instituted when the powers-that-be continued to take overreach various orders and judgments of the court.
It is unthinkable that instead of reining in those who have consistently demonstrated their contempt for constituted authority by refusing their frivolous applications and shooting down their unfounded allegations, some judicial officers, in fact, encourage them to embark on their voyage of destruction of the very institution they swore to protect. How sad! They seek to exploit the good intentions of Your Lordship to reposition the judiciary, hiding behind the cloak of some non-existent groups and fictitious names to cast aspersion on the integrity of incorruptible judges and men and women of high repute, all because they could not get them to do their bidding.
As we have noticed in one of our earlier interventions, a dangerous trend is playing out in the judiciary. The style is: once a litigant loses a case or an order is made against him, rather than exercise his right of appeal or wait for it to decided one way or the other, he hurriedly puts together a spurious petition, sends same to the office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and Chairman of the NJC, and the next day he publishes it in the newspapers. Mission accomplished. Nothing is heard of it, thereafter. The aim was just to embarrass the judicial officers.
It is our considered view that for our democracy to survive and blossom, we must encourage our people to ventilate their grievances in the most civilised way possible as exemplified by the Engr. Adebayo Dayo-led Ogun PDP exco and not resort to violence and other acts of hooliganism as orchestrated by Oyinlola, Oni and Mustapha in Abeokuta on October 3, 2012 and December 19, 2012.
It is against the backdrop of the above circumstances that I wish to invite Your Lordship to be on your guard and watch out for such frivolous petitions and acts that are capable of bringing the judiciary to disrepute.
We pray that the almighty God will give you the wisdom of Solomon and the courage of David to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff.