…as confusion trails holding of southwest congress
Patrick Osadebamwen, Abuja
National Working Committee (NWC)of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been divided over the conduct of the Southwest congress scheduled to take place in Akure Ondo state.
Whilst the National Secretary of the Party Professor Oladipo Adewale and the National Auditor, Adewale Adeyanju in a joint Press conference confirmed receipt of a Court Order which ordered the party to stop all preparation for the Southwest zonal congresses scheduled to hold tomorrow Saturday 14, 2016.
Chief Gbegba Otemolu and Zonal Secretary of the party I the southwest had approach the Court on behalf of himself and his colleagues stating that they were elected for a four year term according to our constitution in 2014, therefore, their tenure cannot end until 2018.
Addressing journalists, Adewale said: “We have called you this afternoon to inform you about the latest development about the proposed southwest zonal congress of our party, which hitherto was scheduled to hold Saturday tomorrow
“However we are in receipt of a Federal High Court in Lagos which has ordered us to put a stop pending when a case filed is heard and solved.
“As a law abiding political party, we have been served this order which is very clear. And as the National Secretary of the Party and the National Auditor of the party and the two men on the NWC of this party from the southwest,m I want o inform you that we have decided to abide by this Court Order.
“Unfortunately, a team has been dispatched to the venue of this congress, I am using this opportunity to apologise for any inconvenience they might have suffered by this unforeseen development. And we are recalling them back to Abuja with immediate effect.
“The congress scheduled for tomorrow in the southwest will not hold in obedience to this Court order. It is noteworthy to mention that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is also a dependent respondent in this case.
“You know that the INEC had always been a stickler for the rule of law. The PDP is a stickler for the rule of law. And the law, the electoral act states clearly that for any congress to be valid it has to be supervised by INEC.
“So, we are on the same boat right now. We know that INEC will not break the law neither will we break the law.
“So the southwest Congress is postponed till the case is resolved.”
Dismissing the claims of Professor Adewale’s being in possession of a Court Order stopping the southwest congress, Secretary of the southwest zonal committee Hon. Henry Iko said he is catching a flight for Ondo state in preparation of the congress.
His words: “There are some rumours that my committee has been called back. I want to tell you that as the secretary of the committee. No committee has been called back. The congresses of southwest of PDP is going on you can see that I have the result sheets and all my materials to conduct the election.
“It is not to the knowledge of my very good self, it is not to the knowledge of the national chairman and I can tell you, we have not seen any Court injunction to that effect. The congresses are going on as planned.
“I am rushing to the Airport to catch my flight to Akure. All the six states of the southwest are ready. The PDP faithfuls are also ready for this election.
“I want to use this opportunity to advise that those few people carrying this rumour should join hand to build PDP as Nigerians are waiting for the PDP, Iko states.
Lending credence to the southwest congress committee secretary and dismissing the Adewale’s statement, the chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff said he has no such information from the secretary.
The chairman who spoke through a phone interview stressed: “I have given directives before I left that there should be a congress. I will only stop when court gives me order to stop. The national secretary, I have not seen him, I have not spoken to him. I am in Taraba right now trying to do my congress.
“I am a law abiding citizen. I don’t have a court order. Therefore, the congress will go on. I have not received any court order. I am in Taraba preparing for my congress
“As at the time I left the office yesterday, I did not receive a court order. If I receive a court order, I will not conduct the congress. I have not seen the national secretary. He was meant to be in Osun. I have not received any court order, Sheriff stated.
How does this affect the convention?
You will know, like I do, that National delegates are elected during local government elections/congresses. Local government congresses have taken place all over the nation, except for few places where we have some hiccups where we are trying to return.
National delegates have already been elected, and there are what we call statutory delegates: Serving governors, deputy governors, House of Assembly members, senators they are not concerned by this order.
Substantially, this is not going to have a profound effect on the upcoming convention.
It is the disobedience of order like this that could have catastrophic consequences in our convention that is why PDP does not joke with such issues.
I am actually a defendant it is a case filed by chief Gbegba Otemolu who is the elected Zonal Secretary of the party. He went to Court on behalf of his colleagues stating that they were elected for a four year term according to our constitution in 2014.
That their tenure cannot end until 2018. I think that is when we received this order.
What is the way forward?
Every disappointment is always a blessing from God. Maybe God almighty himself wanted the party to be united in the southwest. That is why this unforeseen circumstance came into being. That is why this
In any case I can assure you that as leaders of the party we are talking within ourselves, we are resolving it, we will be one, we will be united. We will be together and we will forge ahead as one.
Maybe it is a blessing in disguise and it is giving us opportunity to unite, who knows.