A Federal High Court in Port Harcourt has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), The Nigeria Police Force and Department of State Security (DSS) to observe and also provide adequate security for the August 17 National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party scheduled to hold in Port Harcourt, Rivers state.
The Court also empowered the Party to discountenance any other order by a court of coordinate jurisdiction on a matter over which it had ruled.
It further declared that the National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is the executive authority in all matters concerning the party.
Delivering a judgment on Suit Number FHC/PH /CS /585/2016, between Senator Ben Obi for himself and other members of the National Planning Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party and the Inspector-General of Police, the Rivers state Commissioner of Police, State Security Service, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Justice Ibrahim Watila ordered the Police, DSS and INEC to participate in the 17th August, 2016 National Convention.
He declared that: “It is necessary for the defendants to carry out their respective functions at the 17th August, 2016”.
The court declared that its judgment of 4th July, 2016 remains valid until set aside by a competent jurisdiction, which in this case is the Court of Appeal.
The court stressed that all the defendants are clearly and without dispute bound to obey the judgment.
“This court will not shy away from protecting the sanctity of its judgment. The court has held that the appointment of the PDP National Caretaker Committee is valid “, he said.
Justice Watila stated that the defendants are bound by the judgment because they have made no attempt to set aside the judgment or filed any process in that direction.
He stated: “In view of the subsisting judgment of this Honourable Court in Suit No: FHC/PH /CS /524/2016, PDP V. Senator Ali-Modu Sheriff and others, the defendants cannot lawfully interfere or prevent the Plaintiff from organising /holding the Planned National Convention of the PDP to hold in Port Harcourt on August 17th 2016.”
In granting the originating summons, Justice Watila declared that the defendants were duly served all the processes of the suit filed by the Secretary of the National Caretaker Committee, but chose not to contest the facts.
Justice Watila stated that court records indicate that the proceedings and order of 10th August, 2016 and the interlocutory injunction of 15th August, 2016 were served on the defendants with proof of service.
Addressing journalists after the judgment, Counsel to Senator Ben Obi, Barrister Dejo Lamikanra (SAN) said the ruling gives effect to the Judgment of 4th July, 2016 of the Federal High Court.
Lamikanra (SAN) said: “there is only one judgment with regards to the validity of the convention which held on the 21st of May in Port Harcourt and that Judgment is the judgment of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt given on the 4th of July. That judgment is final and it has completely determined questions on the validity of the convention and the validity of the decisions of that convention.
“A ruling or an opinion of a court of coordinate jurisdiction which suggests anything else must be discountenanced. It is only the Court of Appeal that can set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court.”theunion.