Senator representing Ogun East Senatorial District, Senator Buruji Kashamu Saturday urged the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to accept the decision of the court that declared him the PDP governorship candidate in Ogun State.
He said the position of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the state’s governorship candidates “is in line with several judgments and orders of courts of competent jurisdiction.”
Kashamu spoke at a news conference he addressed in Lagos Saturday, insisting that he remained the governorship candidate of the party in Ogun State.
Kashamu said the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos had since June 24, 2016 delivered a judgment authenticating the Adebayo Dayo-led Ogun State PDP Executive Council as the only lawful body to conduct the activities of the PDP in the state, including the conduct of party primaries.
He said that up till date, that judgment delivered by Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court was yet to be upturned on appeal.
He noted that the court decision was the reason an Abuja High Court on January 14, 2019 dismissed a suit filed by a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Oladipupo Adebutu, in which he wanted the court to declare him as the governorship candidate of the PDP in Ogun State.
Kashamu, therefore, faulted a statement credited to the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbodiyan that the PDP would continue to recognise Adebutu as candidate of the party.
Ologbondiyan had said Adebutu remained the candidate of the party despite the court pronouncements and INEC’s compliance.
Speaking on Ologbondiyan’s position, Kashamu said the Court of Appeal at page 12 of the judgment held that the action instituted at the lower court “is also not in respect of selection or nomination of candidates to represent the PDP at an election nor is it a complaint against any election, decision or activity of the INEC.
“It is in my view, simply an inter-party dispute between two factions of the party as to which of the factions is the legitimate State Executive of the P.D.P in Ogun State. This appeal is therefore not in respect of a pre-election matter.”
Kashamu said the party was committing illegality and impunity by promoting its continued support for Adebutu. He said by its conduct and pronouncements, the party was sending the wrong signals to the electorate as a lawless organization that has no respect for the judiciary.
He said, “What the NWC is doing is sending bad signals. It is clear impunity. There have been several judgments and the judgments are yet to be set aside. So, on what basis are you claiming Adebutu is the candidate?
“They talk of guidelines. Is guidelines superior to the constitution on which the court gave a judgment in our favour? The people are after their pecuniary interests and that is why they are twisting everything.
“I urge our people in Ogun State not to be distracted by all that they are saying. They should stay with the law and the truth. By God’s grace, we will win in the election,” Kashamu said.
He said he was a core PDP member and hoped to use the platform to serve the people diligently, hoping that the disagreements in the party, as well as the issues surrounding the governorship ticket, would be resolved amicably or finally determined through legal means.
He said he “will support PDP and work for the interests whatever happens at the end of the day. The Ogun State PDP matter is ordinarily an easy issue to resolve if the National leadership were to be upright, law-abiding and unbiased.
“Thus, one cannot query the ambition of Honourable Ladi Adebutu to be governor but certainly not at the detriment of the State Executive Committee that provided him the platform to be at the House of Representatives.
“As commendably done by INEC, I passionately appeal to our PDP NWC leaders to toe the path of honour and civility in subordinating their interests to the rule of law. It is noble to correct known mistakes than to, in foolhardiness, continue on an ignominious act,” Kashamu said.
Also speaking at the parley, the PDP governorship running mate in Ogun State, Dr. Reuben Abati, said Kashamu “is in the race to win the election, adding that anyone acting or promoting any other candidate or list in Ogun PDP is only doing so in contempt of the ruling of the court.”
Abati also highlighted plans of the PDP for Ogun State, stating that it would not be business as usual in the state, adding that Kashamu would uplift the plight of the masses, especially those at the grassroots.
He recalled that Adebutu had been locked in litigation battle over the party’s ticket as they both emerged from two parallel congresses.
While Kashamu emerged from the congress conducted by the Bayo Dayo-led Exco, Adebutu emerged from the NWC-backed Sikirulai Ogundele group. But INEC had published the names of National Assembly candidates who belong to the Bayo Dayo-led state executive, as the rightful PDP candidates in Ogun State.
INEC’s National Commissioner for Information, Media and Voter Education, Mr Festus Okoye said on Wednesday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital that INEC published the names in compliance with a subsisting court judgment.
“Our position is that INEC received judgments of properly constituted courts of law and we have given effects to the judgments we have. The judgments asked us to recognise the list of candidates submitted by a faction of the PDP in Ogun State. We have recognised candidates submitted by that political party and we have published the names recognised by the courts,” he said.