- Our attention has been drawn to several social media crusades and celebration by Ogun State Senator, Buruji Kasamu and some of his cronies over a purported Letter from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) validating the so-called executive of the nonexistent Bayo Dayo factional Peoples Democratic Party in Ogun State.
- Our initial reaction was to ignore these jamboree as the social media space is very much available for anyone as an entertainment hub. Senator Kasamu and his motley crowd of supporters are only exercising their Rights to free speech and to make themselves happy; they are of course at liberty to entertain themselves as they deem fit, especially if such rights are being exercised without invalidating the genuine status and the true facts of the law as far as the Ogun State PDP matter is genuinely concerned, nor infringing on the rights of others.
- Meanwhile, to answer the several calls from our party members, teeming supporters and well wishers about the true situation of the matter on ground, we felt a befitting explanation might be necessary to correct the misleading and erroneous impression being sent out.
Facts of the Matter
- It was true that sometime in May 2016, three parallel Congresses were held by various factions laying claims to the authenticity of the Peoples Democratic Party structure in Ogun State. One was held in the premises of the Olousegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (Adebutu faction), another in the open tarmac of the rented building which had housed the PDP Secretariat for some time (Buruji faction), while a 3rd was held at the Centenary Hall in Ake (Dimeji Bankole faction), all in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
- It was equally true that during these period, the troubled national leadership of the PDP was under the chairmanship of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff. The by-product of these congresses culminated in the August, 2016 National Convention which further accentuated the crises within the Peoples Democratic Party, as the Convention could not be concluded, rather ended up producing a National Caretaker Committee headed by former Kaduna State Governor, Senator Ahmed Makarfi.
- It is also on record that that historic National Convention and the emergence of a National Caretaker Committee became a watershed in legal and political history of our great country Nigeria; a matter which was eventually laid to rest by the landmark judgement of the Supreme Court of Nigeria on July 12, 2017.
- It should be recalled that, during the pendency of the matter from the various High Courts, all through the Courts of Appeal and eventually to the Supreme Courts, various factions and interests (not only in Ogun State), but in most states of the federation were lined up behind the two divides on the national executive -Makarfi and Modu Sheriff. Legitimacy, recognition and loyalty were shifting from one to another, most times depending on which side appears to be having the Upper hand.
- After the Supreme Court gave a valid final judgement on July 12, 2017 which recognized the National Caretaker Committee under Senator Ahmed Makarfi as the authentic executive of the PDP. It made various efforts to reconcile all aggrieved factions, notwithstanding the various court judgements, orders and rulings procured by all parties.
- By its August, 2017 Non-elective National convention, it had become clearer that the problems within the party in some states have become intractable, mutual distrust have outgrown any amicable settlement and working together. The National Convention in its wisdom therefore dissolved all factional executive committees in those states where it felt no amicable resolutions could be achieved. Thus, establishing a process of pause and re-set.
- The National leadership of the party, recalling its powers through the National Convention, thereafter constituted a Caretaker Committee for these states (Ogun State inclusive). *Kindly Note: that singular act of dissolution of all existing and factional state executive committees already invalidated all the so-called court orders, rulings, judgments and pronouncements preceding it. The new State executive committee under the Chairmanship of Hon. Sikirulai Olawale Ogundele is different, and far removed from the Congress of May, 2016, rather a product of a new Congress arising from the resolution of the August, 2017 nonelective National Convention.
The Lagal Blackmail, Mental Siege, Deliberate Falsification and Misinformation
- It needs to be emphasised that what Senator Kasamu and his band of entertainers are parading as judicial ambush is like blowing a mere unfriendly wind. There is no latest, emergent nor new development to or against our position. This was a just a mere legal blackmail, arm twist of of some officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on this matter.
- The true matter on ground was that while the Supreme Court matter subsists, the Buruji Kasamu faction in its character, procured a Federal High Court order to validate its exco, and this was promptly appealed against by the PDP National Executive Council and a date was given for parties to appear in court to hear the appeal.
- Meanwhile, Kasamu and his band in their traditional style of judicial manipulation approached the Court registry to secure another date ahead of the earlier one others were notified, got a lawyer to represent the PDP without anyone’s knowledge to ask for a withdrawal from the Appeal.
- On the official hearing date which was communicated to all parties, lawyers representing the PDP were surprised to hear that they had actually withdrawn from their own matter. And this had led to a series of legal actions, which includes an appeal to re-list the matter before the Court of Appeal. The lawyer who was used for this ignoble act had written a letter of apology, claiming he was misled into the wrong actayby Buruji and his men. The matter was also reported to various disciplinary organs in the judiciary for sanctions.
- What Kasamu and his band of marauders were therefore celebrating was preemptive of their loss of the appeal for relisting. It was calculated as a hurried blackmail of INEC officials to obey a court order which is already before appeal and to play a mind game with party members, sow the seed of confusion in minds of the unsuspecting publics so as to blurt the reality of their loss at the Court of Appeal when it eventually happens.
- We therefore call on the public, all our teeming party members to ignore the antics of panic that Buruji Kasamu is spinning deliberately to save his drowning political empire that is in the twilight of being finally extinguished. The Appeal for relisting of the Matter is scheduled for hearing on the 7th of May at the Court of Appeal.
Alhaji Malik Olalekan Ibitoye
State Publicity Secretary,
Peoples Democratic Party,
Ogun State Chapter.