FOLLOWING the Wednesday judgment by an Appeal Court sitting in Abuja which re-instated former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, as National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, strong indications emerged yesterday that the Abubakar Kawu Baraje led rebel group in the party have concluded plans to aid Oyinlola in taking over the affairs at Wadata Plaza.
Sunday Vanguard gathered that besides pushing to take over from the present National Secretary, Professor Wale Oladipo, Oyinlola will, barring any last-minute change of mind, tomorrow write the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to henceforth ignore any letter from the PDP National Secretariat not signed by him.
Oyinlola had been removed from his position as the PDP National Secretary by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja early this year. He is currently the National Secretary of the Baraje-led group operating under the name ‘New PDP’ (nPDP).
Meanwhile, Oyinlola vowed, yesterday, to take over the administrative structure of the party tomorrow, saying the action will not be a threat to peace as he was only taking over the way Onwe Solomon Onwe took over from him on January 15 when Justice Abdul Karafati of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, following a suit filed against him by some chieftains of the PDP in Ogun State, removed him on January 11.
According to him, there must be no sentimentality, but respect for the rule of law.
In a text message to Sunday Vanguard, he said, “Oyinlola is a law abiding personality who believes in the rule of law. That informed his decision to vacate office immediately Kafarati delivered his judgment last January 11.
”There can be no threat to peace and order since Oyinlola only needs to return to his position from which he was wrongly sacked and not to be inaugurated. But one believes very strongly that the PDP NWC consists of knowledgeable people who would not justifiably and morally refuse to implement the decision of a court of competent jurisdiction that, by implication, reinstates me to office as National Secretary, even if anybody is dissatisfied by the ruling of the court. So, let’s not pre-empt anybody but wait for events to unfold.
”It would seem appropriate to inquire if Justice Kafarati of Federal High Court who ignored the Court of Appeal’s Stay of Execution order as granted by the Lagos Judicial Division in June 2012 considered his court superior to the Court of Appeal in the judicial setting, going by provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) from which the courts derive their powers”.
Oyinlola continued: “It is necessary to once again invite the attention of members of the general public to the fact that the major issue in contention was Oyinlola’s declaration that he was never sponsored by the South-west zone of the PDP for the position of national secretary, but emerged from the national convention of the party held in Abuja on Saturday March 24, 2012.
” The misinterpretation of the constitution of the PDP as it affects the election of its national officers was the major issue at stake. Oyinlola contested for the position of National Secretary and won the election fair and square.
”For the avoidance of doubt, it is necessary to reiterate that some of the grounds of Oyinlola’s appeal include the fact that the Judgment delivered by Justice Abdu Kafarati on January 11, 2013, was against the weight of evidence, and that the learned trial judge erred in law when he overruled the preliminary objection to the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, Abuja, and assumed jurisdiction, and delivered judgment when the Oyinlola and the 2nd Defendant (PDP), against whom the principal reliefs are sought, are an individual, and a political party, who are neither Federal Government nor an agency of the Federal Government.
”Those now contesting the Abuja Court of Appeal judgment are obviously aware that there was a subsisting Lagos Court of Appeal order of June 2012 which was disrespected by Justice Kafarati of a Federal High Court in the process of removing Oyinlola. That appeal was withdrawn by the PDP only after the appeal court’s order had been violated.
There must be no sentimentality but respect for the rule of law.”
Oyinlola, Sunday Vanguard learnt, yesterday, will also write to the PDP leadership that the Alhaji Umaru Dikko, led disciplinary committee, inaugurated penultimate week, must not hold any meeting or function until it gets the approval of the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the party, just as the nPDP is insisting that there was no time NEC approved Joel Madaki as the Chairman of Adamawa State PDP as against that of Mijinyawa Umaru Kugama, the state executive loyal to Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State.
The National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, and other members of the NWC, instead of Wednesday that they hold their weekly meeting, will tomorrow hold an emergency meeting at Wadata Plaza to discuss the Oyinlola issue and actions to be taken especially against the backdrop of ongoing peace moves with the party’s rebel group.
Section 36 of the PDP Constitution 2012(As Amended) gave administrative control of the party to the Secretary.
According Section 36, “there shall be a National Secretary who shall be the Chief Administrative and Accounting officer of the party and whose functions shall be to supervise the day- to- day activities of the party; issue notices for NWC, NEC, Caucus and National convention meetings, in charge of all correspondence and staff issues and he is the custodian of the common seal of PDP and many other powers.”
The Appeal Court sitting in Abuja had, on Wednesday, re-instated Oyinlola as National Secretary of the party, just as he was removed from office by Justice Abdul Karafati of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court following a suit filed against him by chieftains of the PDP in Ogun State.
The Ogun chapter of the party, led by its chairman and secretary, Chief Adebayo Dayo and Semiu Sodipo, respectively, had, in their suit, alleged that he emerged through a kangaroo process perfected by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former National Vice Chairman, PDP South West, Alhaji Tajudeen Oladipo.
Consequently, Justice Kafarati, on September 27, 2013 directed the PDP and INEC, to delete Oyinlola’s name from their records as the National Secretary of the party. He further directed the party and the electoral body to rather recognize Professor Oladapo, who, he said, was duly nominated by the South-west PDP extra-ordinary zonal congress held in Ibadan, Oyo State, on July 13, 2013.
The judge noted that the High Court, on January 11, sacked Oyinlola from office and ordered a fresh PDP Zonal Congress in the South-west, stressing that the court order subsisted till July 13.
Oyinlola went on appeal wherein he contended that Justice Kafarati not only over-reached his powers, but also sacked him from office “against the weight of evidence.”
In their judgment, a three-man panel of judges of the appellate court upheld Oyinlola’s argument, saying the High Court lacked jurisdiction on issues bordering on domestic affairs of a political party.
While reacting to the judgment, last week, the PDP National Secretary, Prof Oladipo, who boasted that he will remain in office pending when the Supreme Court takes final decision on the Oyinlola issue, stressed that the appellants from Ogun State were already heading to the apex court and will only quit on its orders.