A fresh legal battle is looming over the protracted leadership tussle in Ogun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) following the inauguration of the new exco by a faction loyal to the former gubernatorial candidate, Senator Buruji Kashamu.
Daily Trust recalls that in 2016, Kashamu’s group held parallel congresses and went ahead to obtain the famous court judgment backing the then Bayo Dayo-led executive whose tenure terminated this month.
But the National Working Committee (NWC) failed to recognise the Kashamu-led PDP, and instead backed former House of Representatives member Hon Ladi Adebutu’s faction, a development which haunted the party during 2019 elections.
- Crack in Kashamu’s PDP faction, as scribe, others back NWC
- Twist as battle for Ogun PDP soul thickens
Relying on the court that validated the Dayo-led exco, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) accepted the candidates’ list submitted for the 2019 elections by Kashamu’s group against the list submitted by the Uche Secondus-led NWC.
In a replay of the 2016 scenario, Kashamu’s faction last Friday snubbed the NWC’s directive by conducting congresses and inaugurating party executives in the state. The disputed exco members are expected to resume duty today.
Daily Trust reports that Kashamu had equally ambushed the NWC by filing a suit before a Federal High Court sitting in Abeokuta, seeking validation of the new exco.
In another twist, the NWC rejected Kashamu faction’s congresses, citing an interim order of Justice Inyang Ewko of a Federal Court sitting in Abuja.
In a statement by the National Chairman Prince Uche Secondus and the National Secretary Senator Umaru Tsauri, the PDP leadership on Saturday said it rejected the congress of the Kashamu faction in obedience to an interim order of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja that ordered all parties to maintain status quo until the substantive suit is determined.
To this end, the PDP hinted that it had not conducted any congress – ward, local government or state – in Ogun State.
“It is the sole responsibility of NEC/NWC of the party to conduct congresses for the elections of party leaders at all levels of the party, and no state organ or individual has such power except as may be expressly donated by the NEC/NWC and same has not been exercised with regards to Ogun State,” it said.
But the newly installed State Chairman of Kashamu’s faction, Samson Bamgbose, yesterday fired back at the NWC, saying the congresses were “validly and legally conducted.”
“The NWC of the PDP has again shown its hands in the enduring struggle in the Ogun State chapter of the PDP between internal democracy and autocracy,” he said in a statement.
Bamgbose noted that while the position of the NWC was not unexpected, “it is disturbing that our leaders in this great party still do not understand (or just don’t care) that all politics is local and that handing over the structures of the PDP to Ladi Adebutu (whose only desire for seeking such control is to guarantee his ambition of being the candidate of the party for the Ogun State gubernatorial elections in 2023) is a recipe for depletion of the commitment of members to the party in Ogun State and defeat at the polls.”
According to the new chairman, the issue as to which organ of the party is empowered to conduct congresses for the elections of party leaders in Ogun State had been resolved in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/636/2016, which reposed the powers in the party’s state executive committee.
He said, “The courts in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/347/2012 and successive cases (particularly Suit No. FHC/L/CS/636/2016) have sought to create a special case for the conduct of congresses and primaries in the Ogun State Chapter of the PDP.
“Therefore, in its judgment in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/636/2016 of 24th June 2016, the Federal High Court (echoing its earlier judgment in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/347/2012) ordered (inter alia) in favour of the Adebayo Dayo led PDP Ogun State Executive Committee (OGSEC) as follows:
“That an order is granted to the Plaintiff (Adebayo Dayo led PDP OGSEC) restraining the 2nd Defendant (PDP) by itself, its agents, servants, proxies and surrogates from henceforth conducting the affairs of the PDP in Ogun State, including meetings, congresses and/or primaries except through the new officers of the party that have emerged from congresses conducted by the plaintiffs as listed in the exhibits attached to the affidavit in support of this originating summons.
“That an order is granted to the plaintiff directing the 1st defendant (INEC) to deal exclusively with the new Ogun State officers of the PDP that emerged from the congresses conducted by the plaintiffs (as listed in exhibits attached to the affidavit in support of this originating summons) in the conduct of the 2nd defendant’s (PDP’s) programmes in Ogun state including congresses and primaries of the party until the four years tenure to which they have been elected is spent.”
Bamgbose said the validity of the judgment had been challenged at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court where it was dismissed.