From: Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
The chairman, Caretaker Committee of the the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State, Tunde Odanye, has blamed some judges in Nigerian courts for being responsible for the chaos the party has been battling with, particularly in Ogun State.
Apart from the judges, Odanye, equally said some lawyers who file unnecessary motions and engage in abuse of court processes, should also be held accountable for the crisis that had enveloped PDP since it lost power to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015.
Odanye, who disclosed this in an interview with our correspondent in Abeokuta, noted that PDP would have been since free from rancour, if the Supreme Court judgement, which recognized party supremacy had been adherently followed by the lower courts.
He, therefore, said that if the party had failed to take a “drastic step”, a judge in one of the federal high courts in Lagos would have issued an injunction last Friday to restrain the party from conducting the ward congresses of PDP held on Saturday in Ogun state.
Odanye said: “About 39 years ago when I was called to bar, you knew what the law was, you could predict it. Up till about 15 years ago, you could tell your client with some fair certainty that this is likely to be the outcome of your case, all things being equal. In other words, we doing our own work properly, the other side doing their own work properly. This is it.
“But now, people just stand the law on its head. The judges too are equally guilty of being privy and party to this chaos. Because we all went to the same Law School. There is what they call taking judicial notice. Everybody knows that October 1 is a public holiday; nobody has to come and prove that to you if you are a judge in Nigeria. Likewise if there is a judgement that says this is the issue.
“So, if there is a Supreme Court judgement which says the party at its national convention can do anything, including winding up the party, how can somebody now be bringing a case before you so say that the party dissolved the executive of one state and you are granting them audience. In most courts abroad, they would strike them out without even letting them address them. But here, we see the opposite, you don’t know what to expect and the sad part of it is that we cannot say all these things are mistakes.
“Maybe in some cases, they might be innocent mistake. But a good number of these cases are not mistake because we know the judges know better. The lawyers who filed those kind of cases would probably have been cashiered or sanctioned in the UK, US or most civilised nations. But in Nigeria, the whole place is a market place. It is elementary once you take a particular issue to one court in one jurisdiction and that court has decided on it, yo u are not allowed to take it to another court. It’s called an abuse of process.
“But what do you find? The person files in about 12 different courts in about 12 different states, and he now starts getting conflicting, even the lawyers who allow that to happen are not helping the profession. In fact, they are going against everything the profession stands for.
“But we thank God, common sense prevailed in Friday by default.I don’t know why one would want to give an injunction to restrain a convention, with all the logistics and everything that has been involved, when you can always set it aside if it was wrongly done, He, however, scored the conduct of the ward congresses in Ogun State high adding that 90 percent of tendencies had come together during the ward congresses and submitted PDP will reclaim its position in the state come 2019.
On his own part, a one time chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and chairman, Ward Congresses of Ogun PDP, Onyema Ugochukwu, expressed satisfaction on the conduct of the election of ward executive members of the party.
According to Ugochukwu, who is also a former Special Adviser on Communication to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the large turn out of the people at various centres in the state, showed that PDP was still strong and preferred party of the masses.
“We’ve gone round and from what we saw, we are quite happy with the turnout. It just shows that the PDP is strong. That’s why people want to come out and participate. We are also happy that it was peaceful. We are hoping that it will all be peaceful everywhere. But we are here to monitor and to make sure things are done peacefully. There are no impositions, they are having elections. But we are impressed with what we’ve seen so far”. He added.
He, however, commended the caretaker committee of PDP in Ogun State for its ability to harmonise different blocs to ensure hitch free congresses.
“We have to give some credit to the caretaker committee. Every political party has people leaning to this way and that way. But they’ve been able to come together in the interest of the party to have peaceful congresses and that is a great thing. We are not expecting that everybody would be happy. You probably heard that some people went to court on Friday, but the court rejected them. But the great majority of our party people want to come together to end this period of confusion because Nigerians are waiting for us to get our act together to run the government the way it should be run”. Ugochukwu submitte