Tobi Soniyi in Lagos
The Senator representing Ogun East senatorial district at the National Assembly, Buruji Kashamu, has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to comply with court judgements which declared the Adebayo Dayo-led state Exco of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the authentic leadership of the party in the state.
He wrote the commission against the backdrop of a recent judgment of the Federal High Court in Lagos, which directed INEC and the PDP to obey an earlier judgment of the court that declared the faction loyal to him as the authentic leadership of the party in the state.
In the letter dated March 26, 2018, Kashamu questioned why the commission was recalcitrant in keeping to its tradition of obeying court orders and judgments.
â€œThe commissionâ€™s position with regards to the Ogun State PDP exco negates its well-known and established tradition of giving effect to court judgments until a superior court says otherwise.â€œINEC had in similar situations as this case taken the path of honour and rectitude as shown in the cases of Chief Ejike Oguebego vs Prince Kenneth Emeakayi over the Anambra State PDP Exco; Samsom Ogah vs Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State and Jimoh Ibrahim vs Eyitayo Jegede, just to mention a few. So, what has changed? Why is the case of Ogun State PDP exco different?â€ Kashamu wrote.
The letter read: â€œYou would recall that I had written three different letters dated January 29, 2018; February 5 and 12, 2018 respectively to you in respect of the Ogun State PDP executive. However, it is surprising that up till date, the commission has not replied any of the letters.
â€œThe silence, notwithstanding, I am again constrained to write you, particularly to draw your attention to yet another judgment of the Federal High Court in Lagos, which has not been stayed or upturned on appeal.
â€œSpecifically, on February 9, 2018, the Federal High Court in Lagos gave a judgment in suit No. FHC/L/CS/1556/2017 wherein it expressly directed the INEC and the PDP to obey the orders of the court in suit No. FHC/L/CS/636/2016.â€
He said the latest judgment had been served on the commissionâ€™s legal department and wondered why â€œthe Director of Legal Services, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Babalola, is either keeping the judgment away from your office and/or sitting on it.â€
Kashamu contended that the court held that the judgment of the Supreme Court on the national leadership tussle between Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and Senator Ahmed Makarfi had nothing to do with the issue of the Ogun State PDP exco.
He said: â€œAs you would find in the judgment, the court held that the resolution of a political party in respect of a state exco cannot vitiate the subsisting judgment of court. It also ruled that the judgment of the Supreme Court in the Ali Modu Sheriff vs Makarfi case has nothing to do with the issue of the Ogun State exco.
â€œSo, the ill-advised decision of the commission to recognise some dissidents instead of the authentic and legally-recognised Ogun State PDP exco has no basis in law and it is antithetical to internal democracy and justice.â€
While absolving INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, of complicity in what he described as â€œthe grand conspiracy against commonsense, justice and the rule of law,â€ Kashamu expressed the hope that the INEC boss â€œwould rise up to the occasion in line with the age-long tradition of the commission obeying court orders and judgments until a superior court says otherwise.â€
He warned that the commissionâ€™s disobedience to court judgment â€œcould breed discontent, resort to self-help and ultimately erode confidence in the electoral process.â€