​PDP CRISIS: FIVE FACTS ON THE APPEAL AT THE SUPREME COURT

1. DISOBEDIENCE OF COURT ORDER/JUDGMENT
A. The Constitution of the PDP which created the National Convention – which is said to be the “supreme and controlling authority of the Party – cannot be greater than the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which created the courts and said in Section 287 Subsections 1, 2 & 3 that:

 (1) The decisions of the Supreme Court shall be enforced in any part of the Federation by all authorities and persons, and by courts with subordinate jurisdiction to that of the Supreme Court.

(2) The decisions of the Court of Appeal shall be enforced in any part of the Federation by all authorities and persons, and by courts with subordinate jurisdiction to that of the court of Appeal.

(3) The decisions of the Federal High Court, a High Court and of all other courts established by this Constitution shall be enforced in any part of the Federation by all authorities and persons, and by other courts of law with subordinate jurisdiction to that of the Federal High Court, a High Court and those other courts, respectively (Emphasis mine).

B. The Supreme Court had in a plethora of cases emphasized the consequences of disobeying a court order/judgment.  See Louis B. Ezekiel Hart V Chief George I. Ezekiel Hart where the apex court said, “Where an individual is enjoined by an order of the court to do or to refrain from doing a particular act, he has a duty to carry out that order. The court has a duty to commit that individual for contempt of its orders where he deliberately fails to carry out such orders.”

Quoting As O’Leary, J. (a Canadian Judge) in Canadian Metal Co. Ltd. v. Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (No.2) f1975] 48 D.L.R. (3d) 641 at 669, the Supreme Court as per Uwais J.S.C. said, “To allow Court orders to be disobeyed would be to tread the road toward anarchy. If orders of the Court can be treated with disrespect, the whole administration of justice is brought into scorn…….if the remedies that the Courts grant to correct…. wrongs can be ignored, then there will be nothing left for each person but to take the law into his own hands. Loss of respect for the Courts will quickly result into the destruction of our society.”

Also, the Hon. Justice Kayode Eso of the Supreme Court in Governor of Lagos State v Ojukwu (1986)1 N.W.L.R. (Pt.l8) 621 at 637, said: “I think it is a very serious matter for anyone to flout a positive order of a court and proceed to taunt the court further by seeking a remedy in a higher court while still in contempt of the lower court.”

Furthermore, the apex court as per Ogunbiyi, J.SC in PDP & ANOR v. ASADU & ORS (2016) LPELR-41007 (P. 7, Para. E) said: “An order of Court will remain extant always until set aside.”

2. THE SUPREME COURT ON WHY PARTIES SHOULD OBEY THEIR OWN CONSTITUTION

In the case of UGWU v Ararume (2007) ALL FWLR (PT. 337) 809 @ 875 – 876 Paragraphs E-A, the Supreme Court stated unequivocally that: “If the political parties in their own wisdom had written into their constitution that their candidates for election would emerge from their primaries, it becomes unacceptable that the court should run away from the duty to enforce compliance with provisions of the party’s constitution. The court did not draft the constitution for those political parties. Indeed, the court in its ordinary duties must enforce compliance with the agreement reached by parties in their contracts…An observer of the Nigerian political scene today easily discovers that the failure of the party to ensure intra-party democracy and live by the provisions of their constitution as to the emergence of candidates for election is one of the major cause of serious problems hindering the enthronement of representative Government in the country…”‎

3. VIOLATION OF THE 1999 CONSTITUTION OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA

Section 223 of the 1999 Constitution states:

(1) The constitution and rules of a political party shall-

(a) Provide for the periodical election on a democratic basis of the principal officers and members of the executive committee or other governing body of the political party; and…

 (2) For the purposes of this section 

(a) The election of the officers or members of the executive committee of a political party shall be deemed to be periodical only if it is made at regular intervals not exceeding four years…

4. VIOLATION OF PDP CONSTITUTION

Article 47 (3) and 6 of the PDP Constitution state that: 

(3) A vote of confidence may be moved on any member of the Executive Committee of  the Party at any level at any National Convention or Congress of the Party two years into the tenure of such member of the Executive Committee, and where such a vote fails to be carried, the Executive Committee member shall be replaced at that National Convention or Congress, as the case may be provided that two months notice of such vote of confidence motion shall be given to the Party Secretary at the appropriate level, who shall circulate it to the relevant Chapters one month before the National Convention or Congress, as the case may be.

(6) Where a vacancy occurs in any of the offices of the Party, the Executive Committee at the appropriate level shall appoint another person from the area or zone where the officer originated from, pending the conduct of election to fill the vacancy.

5. WHAT THE COURT OF APPEAL SAID:

“The 1st Respondent did not only disobeyed (sic) a valid and subsisting court order when it conducted the National Convention wherein it disbanded its entire executive officers at the National Level and formed the National Caretaker Committee, it also violated the provisions of its own constitution”. (Page 68 of leading judgment of B. G. Sanga J.C.A)