The legal team of the Chief Cyril Ogodo led executive of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Delta State, have threatened to initiate a contempt of proceedings against the national chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole and anyone who violates the order of the Federal High Court, sitting at Asaba for parties to maintain status quo pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit before it by the Ogodo led executive.
The team in a statement while reacting to comments by the legal adviser of the Jones Erue led executive, E.V. Onojeghuo that no order restraining the APC and its chairman (Oshiomhole) was made by the court, maintained that the order was very clear and unambiguous.
The statement which was signed by Fred Olokor Esq., noted that the Federal High Court sitting in Asaba indeed restrained the APC from submitting any list of candidates from Delta State to INEC for the 2019 general elections until the substantive suit is resolved, saying, “Let it be known that anyone who violates the clear orders made on the 17th of October, 2018 stands the risk of having contempt proceedings initiated against them.”
The statement by the team reads: “Our attention has been drawn to the erroneous and mischievous interpretation being given to the clear and unambiguous order made on the 17th of October, 2018 by Honourable Justice Toyin Adegoke of the Federal High Court, sitting in Asaba in the suit brought by Cyril Ogodo & 2 ors Vs. Adams Oshiomhole, APC & Ors that all parties maintain status quo pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
“At the resumed hearing of the case, Counsel to the Plaintiffs (O. J. Oghenejakpor, Esq.) who had filed a Motion on Notice to restrain 1st and 2nd Defendants (i.e APC and Oshiomhole) from submitting any list of candidates from Delta State to INEC other than the list of candidates that emerged from the Cyril Ogodo led executive’s primaries, which was duly served on all the Defendants, urged the Court to hear the motion on notice. But because the Defendants served counsel to the Plaintiffs their processes which included preliminary objections in court on the 17th of October, 2018 the motion was not moved.
“In a bid to diligently prosecute the case, the plaintiffs’ counsel applied for a stand down for a few hours to respond to the preliminary objections filed by the Defendants and served in court. The stand down was granted. And before the resumption of hearing after the stand down, the Plaintiffs’ counsel was able to file his response to the preliminary objections and was ready to argue the said preliminary objections and the substantive application. However, because the Defendants main aim in court was to stall the hearing of the case, they vehemently argued that they were not ready to respond on points of law orally. They insisted on filing a reply and applied for an adjournment of the case.
“When it was clear that the Defendants counsel’s intention was to stall the hearing of the case, the Plaintiff Counsel called upon the court to preserve the res in the matter which is to restrain the APC from submitting any list of candidates from Delta State to INEC for the 2019 general elections except candidates that emerged from the Cyril Ogodo anchored primaries.
“The court then inquired from the Counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) if any list of candidates had been submitted to INEC as at 17th of October, 2018. The INEC counsel confirmed to court that no list of candidates for Delta State have been submitted to INEC yet.
“At this point the Honourable Judge ordered that all parties should maintain status quo. The clear meaning and intent of the status quo, therefore, is to preserve the res by ensuring that no list of candidates is submitted to INEC until the determination of the substantive matter.
“This was why the judge ordered for accelerated hearing and fixed November 1st and 2nd 2018 for the hearing and determination of the case.”
“It is therefore pedestrian and mischievous for anyone to suggest or argue that the Federal High Court in Asaba did not restrain APC from submitting any list of candidates for Delta State to INEC.
“The counsel to the 1st and 2nd Defendants (APC and the APC National Chairman) was in court and clearly understood what the order meant. Counsel will thus be unduly exposing his clients to the risk of contempt proceedings if he allows them to be misled by the mischievous interpretation of the Prophet Jones factional Legal Adviser as is being circulated in the media,” he added.