That we are being used by APC is total falsehood — Adeniji
Bolaji Adeniji is the spokesman of Adebayo Dayo-led (Kashamu loyalists) faction of Ogun Peoples Democratic Party. He spoke with Charles Coffie Gyamfi in continuation of our story on Ogun PDP crisis.
When did the current face-off emerge?
The genesis of the current impasse began in 2016, when we were to have the party Congresses at the local, state, zonal and up to the national level. There was a Congress committee sent from Abuja to each state, including Ogun to monitor the exercise. They (the party’s NEC) sent Alhaji Mohammed Yakubu-led Congress Committee to Ogun State to conduct all congresses in the state. The Committee Secretary was Hon. Brenard Miko. We conducted the congresses and at the state level, Engineer Adebayo Dayo emerged as chairman of the party for the second time.
But later that day, we heard that this other group, now being championed by Hon. Ladi Adebutu, with the strong support of Otunba Gbenga Daniel also held their own parallel congress, which was illegal because INEC, Police, DSS and the Abuja Congress Committee were all present at our own congress. They all signed the results, which were taken to Abuja. So, how could there have been another congress? Who conducted that parallel congress? It was afterwards that we heard that this other group, led by Hon. Sikirulai Ogundele, had been elected to run the party’s affairs.
We approached the Federal High Court, that we had followed due processes; we had conducted the congresses and had validly emerged, as the Executive of Ogun State PDP and therefore, the court should enforce our fundamental human rights. We tabled some prayers before the court and in its final judgment; the court ruled that no other Executive was allowed to parade itself as the party’s Executive. The court also refrained the defendants (Adebutu, Ogundele and the PDP national leadership) from electing or appointing any other group of persons to act on behalf of the party, aside the Adebayo Dayo-led Executive, which emerged via the 2016 state Congress. The court affirmed that Adebayo Dayo should continue to act as PDP Chairman till 2020, when his four-year tenure would expire.
They didn’t appeal the judgment and unfortunately for them, the window period of appealing had elapsed, but until that judgment is appealed and repudiated, no other Executive can parade itself as valid Exco members.
But they also claim they have a court judgment…
The judgment they are parading came about sometime in 2016, when Ogun State wanted to hold the local government elections and Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC) was confronted with two PDP Executives, with two sets of candidates. OGSIEC was initially at a loss as to what to do.
OGSIEC initially said it would be guided by whatever INEC says, because INEC is the only body recognised by law that can decide the authenticity of any party leadership. Even though they (INEC) said Adebayo Dayo’s Executive is the authentic one in the state, but surprisingly, rather than OGSIEC to follow that, it decided to play with the weaker group in PDP, the Ogundele group, which was not ready for election, as the group ran to the State High Court to collect an injunction compelling OGSIEC to accept their list of candidates for that local government election. And based on this, they claimed they were the authentic Executive in Ogun State and that is the judgment they have.
What is your next line of action?
As far as we are concerned, there can never be a caretaker committee for Ogun PDP at the moment and the reason is this: After the initial National Convention in May 21, 2016 in Port Harcourt, and with their not appealing the Federal High Court judgment, it meant we are the authentic Executive at that National Convention, which brought about the Sheriff National Working Committee (NWC). And if you recall, Makarfi Committee and Sheriff’s NWC fought for the party’s National leadership up to the Supreme Court, which ruled in favour of Makarfi. But that judgment is not a universal one, as it only resolved the National leadership tussle between Makarfi and Sheriff. Does it now mean that the Supreme Court judgment that resolved the National leadership tussle confirmed Sikirulai Ogundele as the Chairman of the party in Ogun State? No, because there is a judgment that already said the Adebayo Dayo Executive is the only authentic one in the state, which they are yet to appeal.
What would you say to accusation that Kashamu is trading with PDP?
Their accusation of lack of internal democracy and that Kashamu is just taking money from aspirants and imposing candidates on the people are false. A lot of these people like to act like ostriches and bury their heads in the sand, thinking nobody is seeing them. On the contrary, they are the ones acting illegally due to over-ambition and desire to take over control of the party structure through the back door without subjecting themselves to extant processes of the party and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
When will this crisis in Ogun PDP come to an end?
The solution to the crisis can only be found, if these characters are ready to start from the point of law. It is not always in the interest of any political party to perpetually be in court to solve its matters. We should be able to talk as a family and resolve our crisis, but when people are choosing to be unreasonable, and because of ambition now go behind to set up parallel Executive or divide the party, then those people who have decided to subject themselves to the law of the party through Congresses will have no choice than to go to court to enforce their fundamental human rights as protected, not just by the party’s Constitution, but also by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
One of the reasons we said Makarfi cannot set up a Caretaker Committee in Ogun State is because, whereas the PDP National Convention is the party’s highest body, which can do and undo, the party itself and its Constitution are still subject to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. And the Federal High Court judgment is a creation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which means the order of a Federal High Court is superior to the PDP’s National Convention.
Their allegation that Kashamu is allowing himself to be used by the APC is total falsehood. In politics, insinuations, innuendos, hearsays, propaganda and falsehood are part of the game. Not until they can prove with impeccable facts that Kashamu is working for APC, their allegation remains in the realm of conjecture, character assassination and smear campaign against Senator Buruji Kashamu. If he prefers to work for the APC, he will join the APC, but if the man decides to stay in PDP, supporting it with his time and money and even contested to win election on the platform of PDP, how does it now make sense that such a man is working for the APC? It is illogical, just calling a dog a bad name to hang it.
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