The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 elections, Senator Buruji Kashamu, has said that the recently held congresses of the party, which produced a new set of party executives in the state, followed due process.
Kashamu stated this in a statement entitled “Setting the records straight on Ogun State PDP executive committee” released in Lagos at the weekend.
According to the former lawmaker, the statement became imperative in the light of what he described as the falsehood and misinformation being peddled by some people.
Kashamu said contrary to the lie being bandied in some quarters, that an order was made by Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court stopping the conduct of PDP congresses in Ogun State, there was nothing of such.
He explained that a suit was filed by some people in the name of the PDP against the authentic Ogun State PDP Executive Committee 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.
According to him, “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.
“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.”
Kashamu said the action was illegal because “It is an 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.”
He added, “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.”
The former lawmaker explained further that in the face of the preliminary objection, the court could not and did not entertain any application to stop the conduct of PDP congresses in Ogun State.
“This is because 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,” he said.
Kashamu noted that 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”.
He pointed out that it was not an order restraining conduct of congresses or for maintenance of status quo “but some people mischievously misinterpreted it and claimed that the court had made an order restraining the conduct of PDP Congresses in Ogun State or for maintenance of status quo.”
Kashamu added, “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.
“Every lawyer knows this as the exception to the rule in Hadkinson V Hadkinson. 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.
“The appeal and the motion for stay essentially neutralize the application of the order appealed against to the appellant. 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.”
Kashamu also stated that the claim in some quarters that INEC nullified the PDP congresses conducted on the 7th, 21st March and 3rd April 2020 was false.
He said, “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.
“Hon. Samson Kayode Bamgbose now leads the new Ogun State Executive Committee of the PDP.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
While emphasizing his desire to work with others to change the fortune of the PDP in Ogun State, Kashamu said this had to be done through the newly-constituted state executive committee. “I wish to reiterate again that we are ready for genuine reconciliation through the Samson Bamgbose-led State Executive Committee.”