The lawmaker representing Ogun East Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Senator Buruji Kashamu, has counseled the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to respect and obey the party’s constitution and toe the path of the rule of law to once again win the hearts of Nigerians.
This was contained in a letter dated November 4, 2018 addressed to the national chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus.
Kashamu’s letter was prompted by Secondus’ November 1 letter to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in which he faulted its recognition of the Adebayo Dayo-led Ogun State PDP executive.
But Kashamu, in the letter titled Re: Nomination of Candidates for 2019 General Election in Ogun State, stated that the power to organise state congress and elect governorship candidates for the party resides in the state chairman and not the national chairman or the National Executive Committee (NWC).
Quoting the party’s constitution, the Senator stated, “Specifically, Section 25 (1) of the PDP Constitution (as amended in 2017) states, ‘There shall be a State Party Congress which shall consist of: (a) The State Chairman who shall be the Chairman. Section 25 (2c) states further, ‘The functions of the State Congress shall be to: (c) Elect governorship candidates of the Party.’”
He added, “You quoted Section 50 (1) of the PDP Constitution which states, ‘The National Executive Committee shall, subject to the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), Electoral Act (as amended) and this Constitution, formulate guidelines and regulations for the nomination of candidates for election into public offices at all levels and shall be the final authority for resolving all disputes relating to the choice of candidates for the party for any election…’
“A cursory look at the above provision of the Constitution of our great party clearly states that the actions of the NEC shall be subjected to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, the Electoral Act and our Party’s Constitution – in that order.
“It goes without saying that the powers vested in the NEC as stipulated above are subject to the 1999 Constitution that established the courts. Therefore, where a person is aggrieved by the action of an authority (e.g. a political party), such a person is entitled to seek redress in the court of law as established by the 1999 Constitution; and any judgment delivered by such court with respect to the grievance is binding on such authority or person. That is what INEC has done and that is what PDP should do – to show all and sundry that it has truly rebranded and that the culture of impunity belonged in the past.”
The lawmaker’s letter reads further, “It is interesting that you quoted Section 87 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) but then further down, particularly subsection (4b ii) of the Electoral Act states, ‘The aspirant with the highest number of votes at the end of voting shall be declared the winner of the primaries of the party and the aspirant’s name shall be forwarded to the Commission as the candidate of the party, for the particular State’.
“The Act does not state or vest in the national leadership the exclusive right to forward the aspirant’s name to the Commission as the candidate of the party. It simply states, ‘…and the aspirant’s name shall be forwarded to the Commission as the candidate of the party, for the particular State.’ Assuming without conceding that the court vests the national leadership with the powers to submit names to INEC, it never envisaged a situation where the minders of the party would be as reckless as to serially disobey subsisting court judgments and orders.”
Kashamu averred that since the Adebayo Dayo-led executive committee had two judgments in its favour as the authentic party executive, what the national body should have done was to obey the court judgments until the judgments were set aside instead of trying to force its wishes on the people and the INEC.
He advised Secondus to rise up to his high office by finding ways to reconcile the two warring parties in Ogun State rather than siding with one and trying to bamboozle INEC “into joining you in the unjust victimisation of Mr. Adebayo Dayo-led Ogun State PDP Executive and anyone associated with it.”