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SENATOR BURUJI KASHAMU SETS “THE RECORDS STRAIGHT” ON OGUN STATE PDP EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Senator Buruji Kashamu has responded to recent reports in the media concerning the leadership tussle in the Ogun state PDP executive committee which he termed “falsehoods” in his recent press release where he sets the records straight. 


Senator Kashamu’s response highlighted three falsehoods and gave his version of the truth as follows: 


“FALSEHOOD 1: That 13 out of the 14 members of the authentic PDP Ogun State Executive Committee (authenticated by the judgment of the Federal High Court in its judgment of 24th June 2016 in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/636/2016) have gone over to the Adebutu’s Group.”


THE TRUTH:

1. There is no Adebutu group in the Ogun State PDP; the so called Adebutu group (meaning a bunch of PDP members who supported Ladi Adebutu’s unsuccessful bid for the gubernatorial candidacy of the PDP in 2019) defected to the APM in 2019 under a three-year agreement which still subsists. Only the relevant organ of the PDP (i.e. its Executive Committee) can enter into any political alliance with another political party. Once a group of members decide to abandon their Party and “join forces” with a Party opposing the PDP, they have effectively defected and lost their membership of the Party.


2. The judgment of the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/636/2016 confirmed, authenticated and specified the Executive Committees of the PDP at Ward, LGA and State levels. So, whilst the State Working Committee is a 14-member body, the State Executive Committee, which the beneficiary of the judgment, is a wider and bigger organ that includes members of the State Working Committee and their Assistants, serving members of the National and State House of Assembly, serving and former members of the National Executive Committee from the State, all elected Local Government Area Party Chairmen in the State, among others.


3. Whereas those Executive Committees were protected from any interference from without, the judgment did not impede the organic evolution of the said Executive committees that would result from resignations, deaths and or removals by the Committees themselves.


4. In respect of the Ogun State PDP Executive Committee, it had evolved by 2020 to the point where many of its original members had resigned to contest elections and been duly replaced (the erstwhile Secretary of the Party, Semiu Sodipo himself signed many of the letters conveying the appointment of the replacement of officers who had been resigned or defected from the Party) and some had been suspended (like Semiu Sodipo himself as confirmed by Adebayo Dayo in letters, press releases and sworn affidavit).


5. Therefore by the end of February, 2020, Semiu Sodipo was no longer a member of the Ogun State PDP Executive Committee (State Exco) and the current members of the State Executive Committee were confirmed by Adebayo Dayo in his letter of 3rd of March, 2020, requesting that the law firm TRLPLAW act for the PDP Ogun State PDP Executive Committee in response to an action (Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/208/2020) instituted under the influence of the reactionary elements in Ogun State in a bid to undermine the judgment of the Federal High Court delivered in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/636/2016. It was the same officers that he used to suspend Sodipo. 


6. That list of Ogun State PDP Executive Committee, prepared and signed by Adebayo Dayo, showed that Samson Kayode Bamgbose is the Deputy Chairman and Barrister (Mrs.) Bimbo Lanre-Balogun is the State Secretary of the PDP, amongst others.


7. From this list of the authentic officers of the Ogun State PDP Executive Committee prepared by Adebayo Dayo (as established by the judgment of the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/636/2016) only Dayo is no longer functioning and this is because he was suspended by a resolution of the State Working Committee on the 26th of March, 2020 for his clandestine attempt to compromise the results of the Ward and LGA congresses conducted on the 7th and 21st of March, 2020 and obstruct the conduct of the State congress then scheduled for the 3rd of April, 2020.


FALSEHOOD 2:

That there is an order made by Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/208/2020 stopping the conduct of PDP congresses in Ogun State and that the congresses conducted on the 7th, 21st of March and on the 3rd of April 2020 will be nullified for being conducted in contempt of that order.



THE TRUTH:

1. Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/208/2020 was brought by the dissidents in Ogun State in the name of the PDP against the authentic Ogun State PDP Executive Committee (as established by the judgment of the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/636/2016) seeking a review of the judgment which had ordered that only the said authentic Ogun State PDP Executive Committee could conduct congresses or primaries of the PDP in Ogun State.


2. The reliefs sought were to the effect that the court should decide that because of some Supreme Court Judgments (that allegedly suggest that only the NEC of a political Party may conduct congresses and primaries), the judgment in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/636/2016 was not valid in empowering the Ogun State PDP Executive Committee to conduct congresses for its successors in 2020.


3. In that action, they had applied for an order of the court to stop the Ogun State PDP Executive Committee from conducting congresses and the court had refused the application and directed that the Defendants be put on Notice.


4. This action is evidently illegal and is another cynical abuse of the process of the court. 


5. It is a blatant invitation to the Federal High Court to sit on appeal over its own judgment delivered in Suit No. FHC/LCS/636/2016 after the appeal against that judgment had been rejected and dismissed at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court in 2019.


6. By March 3, 2020, when this fatally flawed matter came up, a Preliminary Objection had been filed on behalf of the then Adebayo Dayo-led Ogun State PDP Executive Committee, challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the action because the questions raised in the action had already been decided by the same Federal High Court in favour of the Ogun State PDP Executive Committee in 2019 (in Suit No. FHC/AB/CS/1323/2019 brought by some members of the Adebutu Group) and by the FCT High Court in another matter commenced by Ladi Adebutu (Suit No. FCT/FT/CV/29/2018).


7. In the face of this preliminary objection the court (Coram Inyang Ekwo J.) could not and did not entertain any application to stop the conduct of PDP congresses in Ogun State; the Supreme Court has directed that in such circumstances, the Court whose jurisdiction is being challenged cannot make any order against the interest of the party challenging its jurisdiction. (See the Supreme Court decision in NDIC V CBN 2002).


8. It was whilst adjourning the case for hearing of the preliminary objection and other applications that the judge on his own volition made the remark that “parties should refrain from doing anything that will tamper with the res of the action”. 


9. This was not an order restraining conduct of congresses or for maintenance of status quo as misrepresented in the sponsored articles published in The Nation newspaper and City Pulse.

10. Immediately after the court proceedings on March 3, 2020, the instigators of the suit went on the media falsely claiming that the court had made an order restraining the conduct of PDP Congresses in Ogun State or for maintenance of status quo.


11. We clearly perceived the mischief inherent in this misinterpretation of the Court’s remarks and therefore decided to take ourselves outside possible allegations of breach of the “order” or of contempt of court by appealing against the “order” and filing an application for its stay. 


12. Every lawyer knows this as the exception to the rule in Hadkinson V Hadkinson (applied by the Supreme Court in many cases including Governor of Lagos State V Ojukwu, FATB V Ezegbu, amongst others).


13. This rule admits of an exception to the perception that a party is in contempt of court when he disobeys an order he has appealed against and filed an application to stay.


14. The appeal and the motion for stay essentially neutralize the application of the order appealed against to the Appellant (the authentic Ogun State Executive Committee of the PDP in this instance).


15. Therefore, the idea being bandied around that the congresses were conducted in defiance of a restraining order or an order for maintenance of status quo is clearly unfounded and completely false. 


16. Similarly, any plan being harboured about complaining to Justice Inyang Ekwo that the congresses breached the remarks of the court that “parties refrain from doing anything to tamper with the res of the action” will find no leg to stand on in the context of our appeal and application for the stay of the execution of the “order”.


17. Clearly, the plan was to obtain a restraining order that could be dragged beyond the 9th May, 2020 tenure of the authentic Ogun State Executive Committee of the PDP.


18. At this time, they would then claim that there was no subsisting Ogun State Executive Committee of the PDP to conduct the congresses in line with the dictates of the judgment of the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/636/2016.


19. By conducting the congresses validly on the 7th, 21st March and 3rd April 2020 that strategy was foiled and now lies wasted and useless. This is why the refrain has gone up that the congresses were conducted in breach of a restraining order or in defiance of an order for maintenance of status quo, when no such orders exist.


20. However, the reactionaries are at liberty to continue relying on the usual mediocre legal advice that has always seen them worsted in every legal battle since 2011.


FALSEHOOD 3:

That INEC has nullified the congresses on the basis of an alleged restraining order/order for maintenance of status quo.


THE TRUTH:

1. We have already demonstrated that there is no restraining order on conduct of PDP Congresses in Ogun State.


2. It is also a falsehood that INEC nullified any of the congresses conducted on the 7th, 21st March and 3rd April 2020. INEC may have its view about the meaning or effect of the remarks of the court “that Parties should not tamper with the res of the action but that does not give INEC any right to nullify any congress on the basis of such view.


3. Already, INEC has received the reports of the congresses and is aware of the new officers that will now take over from the Ogun State Executive Committee of the PDP backed by FHC/L/CS/636/2016.


4. Hon. Samson Kayode Bamgbose now leads the new Ogun State Executive Committee of the PDP. 


5. He and his colleagues have already approached the Federal High Court for protection from the anticipated antics of the desperate elements and their new allies in Ogun State.


6. On the 9th of May 2020, they will effectively be in charge of the running of the Party as specified by the judgment of the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/636/2016.


7. If INEC has any complaints against the congresses the new case (Suit No. FHC/AB/CS/44/2020) will give INEC the opportunity to make that complaint. 


8. However, until then, INEC cannot pre-empt the court and make any declaration that the congresses are invalid or nullities when that question has now been submitted to the court for determination.


The senator also disclaimed the allegation of him running a one-man show saying it is without substance.


In conclusion, Senator Bururji Kashamu reemphasised that his call for reconciliation is not an act of cowardice but a display of the spirit of sportsmanship and a direct response to the wish of the people, especially the grassroots. The senator said he still believes it “would be in the overall interest of our Party and the people to come together and become a united and formidable force.” 


“I wish to reiterate again that we are ready for genuine reconciliation through the Samson Bamgbose-led State Executive Committee,” he said.

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