WHY WE MUST HOLD GUBER BAYELSA PRIMARIES -PDP
The Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) National Working Committee (NWC) has again restated its position to hold the governorship primary tomorrow, to produce its governorship candidate ahead of the governorship election, slated for next February. Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja had on Wednesday issued an interim injunction, restraining the party national leadership from going ahead with the conduct of its primary slated for tomorrow.
But 24 hours after court bailiffs pasted the court order on the walls of the PDP national secretariat in Abuja, the party continues to feign ignorance of the interim order.
In another statement issued yesterday and signed by National Publicity Secretary of the party, Professor Rufai Ahmed Alkali, the PDP claimed that no court has restrained it from tomorrow's exercise and advised its members to ignore misleading publications by the national newspapers.
It equally premised its position not to halt tomorrow exercise on statutory provision of 'section 87 (10) of the 2010 Electoral Act, as amended, which provides that, 'nothing in this section shall empower the courts to stop the holding of primaries or general elections under this Act pending the determination of any suit.' 'We also wish to refer to section 31 (1) of the same Electoral Act which limits the time within which a political party must submit names of it's candidates to INEC, to not later than 60 days, to the date of elections.'
'The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) therefore wishes to make it abundantly clear that our decision to continue with our scheduled primary elections in Bayelsa State is clearly in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.' But while the Alkali claimed ignorance of the interim order, National Legal Adviser of the PDP, Chief Olusola Oke told journalists in a separate interview that the party was aware of the court order and 'will surely respond to the court processes and justify the stand of the party in this matter on the return date of November 22, 2011.''
Oke noted that the incumbent Bayelsa Governor, Timipre Sylva has gone to court and noted that it was within his constitutional right to do so. He however submitted that Governor Sylva should have explored options of seeking redress within the party before embarking on litigations. 'We are aware that the Bayelsa State Governor, Timipre Sylva has gone to court as reported in the newspapers of today. Without doubt and prejudice, it is within his constitutional right to ventilate his grievances in a court of law, especially as now guaranteed by the Electoral Act.
'As a senior member of the PDP, we have expected him to explore the option of seeking redress within the party before going to the court.
'We will surely respond to the court processes and justify the stand of the party in this matter on the return date of November 22, 2011. 'Our position is the provision of section 31 of the Electoral Act which limits the time within which the party could submit its candidate's name for the election to not later than 60 days to the date of the election.