By Chinelo Obogo
Governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State, recognised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Buruji Kashamu, has hit back at the national leadership of the party for supporting the governorship ambition of Ladi Adebutu.
Speaking during a press conference in Lagos, at the weekend, Kashamu and his running mate, Reuben Abati, who was the spokesman to former president Goodluck Jonathan, dismissed the support of the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) for Adebutu as unconstitutional.
Kashamu said he and Abati were recognised by the courts, hence, the publication of their names as the candidates of the party by INEC, and vowed that despite the opposition of the party’s NWC to his ambition, he would not give up on his mandate.
“The fact must be reiterated that in spite of the shenanigan of the NWC, Abati and I are the lawful governorship and deputy governorship candidates of the PDP. In a case filed by Adebutu, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court on January 14, 2019, held that although the PDP national leadership is the right body to conduct primaries, it was done in flagrant disobedience of subsisting court judgment,” he said.
“The Ogun PDP matter is ordinarily an easy issue to resolve if the national leadership were to be law-abiding and unbiased. It is legitimate for politicians to be ambitious but not to go about it with impunity and lawlessness.
“Unfortunately for these undemocratic elements, the original PDP structure was proactive in approaching the court of law for protection of its rights as enshrined in the PDP and the Nigerian constitutions. It is the High Court judgments from litigations in 2016/2017, which are still subsisting and binding on INEC and PDP as parties to the suit, that the National Chairman, Uche Secondus-led PDP NWC has been striving to circumvent.
“There is practically nothing they have not done; from constituting a national convention, to purportedly dissolving the valid Ogun State PDP executive in disobedience to valid court judgments and unlawful expulsion of party leaders. You will recall that their so-called expulsion has been nullified by the FCT High Court. Efforts at appeal of the judgments have largely been unsuccessful having been dismissed at the Appeal Court. This has made them to institute multiple ancillary cases in abuse of court processes. One of such is the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Ibadan.
“It is also expedient to refer to the findings of the Court of Appeal at page 12 wherein the court held as follows: ‘The action instituted at the lower court is also not in respect of selection or nomination of candidates to represent the 1st appellant at an election nor is it a complaint against any election, decision or activity of the INEC (10th respondent). It is in my view, simply an inter-party dispute between two factions of the party as to which of the factions is the legitimate state executive of the PDP in Ogun State. This appeal is therefore not in respect of the pre-election matter. The findings and decision of the Court of Appeal in the judgment of December 18, 2018, clearly shows that the subject of the said appeal was neither related to pre-election issues nor the nomination of candidates to represent the Ogun State PDP at the election.
“Therefore, since the said appeal and judgment do not relate to the list of candidates that would represent the Ogun State PDP at the election, the Court of Appeal could not have sacked or pronounced on the list of candidates from Ogun State. Adebutu was not a party to the appeal, how can he claim to be a beneficiary of the judgment?” Kashamu queried.