I have read with dismay the reports of a section of the media which seek to interpret the judgment of the Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital as having sacked me and other candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
As you would find in the various reports, the Court of Appeal said in its judgment that the matter before it was not a pre-election matter. Hence, it could not have pronounced on the nomination of candidates, let alone sacking me or anyone for that matter. That was not the prayers of PDP and its officers who are the appellants in the matter and so such a prayer could not have been granted.
Some have erroneously said that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) accepted our list of candidates for the 2019 general election based on the interlocutory orders of the Federal High Court, Abeokuta, which have now been set aside, then our nomination as candidates of the Ogun State PDP has been nullified. That cannot be true because the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court had in a full and final judgment delivered on the 24th of June, 2016. Not satisfied, the other group appealed. On the 4thof May, 2017, the appeal was dismissed. Still not satisfied, they asked the Court of Appeal to relist the appeal. Again, on the 11th of July, 2018, the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal in a well-considered ruling held that the appeal remained dismissed. It is the refusal by the Court of Appeal to relist the appeal that is now pending at the Supreme Court.
In the said judgment, the Court specifically ordered, among others:
“That an order is granted to the Plaintiff (i.e. Engr. Adebayo Dayo-led Ogun State PDP Exco) restraining the 2nd Defendant 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 restraining the 1st Defendant by itself, officers, agents, servants or privies from recognizing any step or action whatsoever taken by the 2nd Defendant or its National Executive Committee, other organs or officers including the 3rd and 4th Defendants in Ogun state without recourse to and or approval of the Plaintiffs herein.
“That an order is granted to the Plaintiff directing the 1st (INEC) and 2nd (PDP) Defendants to recognize and accept, for purposes of the 2019 Nigerian general elections, only candidates of the PDP in Ogun state that have been nominated through primaries conducted by the new officers of the PDP in Ogun State as listed in the results and reports exhibited in the affidavit in support of this originating summons.”
- The terms of the orders and judgment in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/636/2016 referred to were further affirmed in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1556/2017 delivered on 9th February 2018 wherein the Court ordered that the parties are bound by the decision of this Court in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/636/2016 delivered by Buba J. on the 24th day of June, 2016.
- The two orders granted by the Federal High Court, Abeokuta, in Suit No. FHC/AB/CS/114/2018, were made in a judgment enforcement proceedings. The first was in relation to the National Convention held between October 5 and 6, 2018. The second order was for INEC to accept, process and publish our list of candidates for the 2019 general election. Clearly, the request to set aside the orders of the Federal High Court, Abeokuta, has been overtaken by events. The National Convention has come and gone. INEC has also complied with the orders of court and the subsisting judgments. So, how does the decision setting aside the orders of the Federal High Court affect us?
- It should be noted that INEC, as a law-abiding institution, has since communicated its decision to recognize and deal ONLY with the Engr. Adebayo Dayo-led Ogun State PDP Exco to the national leadership of our party. (See INEC letters dated 12th of April, 2018 and 25th of October, 2018)
- In the 25th of October, 2018 letter written by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), it was emphatically stated that its decision to accept the list of candidates submitted by the Engr. Adebayo Dayo-led Exco was predicated on three court suits, namely FHC/L/CS/636/2016, FHC/L/CS/1556/2017 and FHC/AB/CS/114/2018. It is only the interlocutory orders in FHC/AB/CS/114/2018 that were set aside. The full and final judgments in FHC/L/CS/636/2016 and FHC/L/CS/1556/2017 in favour of the Engr. Adebayo Dayo-led Ogun State PDP Exco which are yet to be set aside and do not have any subsisting appeals against them still remain. It should also be pointed out that based on the judgments in FHC/L/CS/636/2016 and FHC/L/CS/1556/2017 in favour of the Engr. Adebayo Dayo-led Ogun State PDP Exco, INEC had in an earlier letter dated 12th April, 2018, informed the PDP of the commission’s compliance with the two judgments of the Federal High Court.
- It is our firm belief that the existing judgment and reliefs granted specifically in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/636/2016 (in the judgment of the Honourable Justice I.N. Buba) fortifies the provisions of the Peoples Democratic Party Constitution 2017 (as amended) on the importance of the State Chairman as a Chairman of the Party’s State Congress and functions of the State Congress presided over by the State Chairman which inter alia includes to elect gubernatorial candidates in general election. In this case, Engr. Adebayo Dayo is the State Chairman as affirmed by the subsequent judgments. For ease of reference Section 25(1) of the Peoples Democratic Party Constitution 2017 (as amended) states clearly as follows:
“There shall be a State Party Congress which shall consist of:
The State Chairman who shall be the Chairman.
Section 25(2C) states further thus:
“The function of the State Congress shall be to:
(c) Elect Governorship candidates of the Party.”
- Therefore the argument of the PDP that it is the exclusive affair of the National Working Committee or National Executive Committee, in light of the subsisting judgments and provisions of the Peoples Democratic Party Constitution is untenable.
- So, the purported dissolution of the Engr. Adebayo Dayo-led State Exco (in spite of the subsisting judgments of the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal) that allegedly paved the way for the “coronation” of the dissident group led by Adebutu and Ogundele as the “Ogun State PDP Exco” does not exist and cannot stand since you cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand.
- We have already exercised our rights of appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court and we are hopeful that this injustice will not stand.
- I wish to urge all members of our party, leaders and elders as well as our teeming supporters not to be dismayed. Our candidature is intact and on course. Nothing has changed. Let us continue the grassroots mobilization that we have been doing in the party. At the appropriate time, the Almighty Allah Subhana wataAllah, who is the most powerful and the ultimate decider of the fate of all mortals would intervene and ensure that justice prevails over injustice; truth triumphs over lies and good over evil.
Senator Buruji Kashamu
Senator representing Ogun East Senatorial District and Ogun State PDP Governorship Candidate