OGUN PDP: OBASANJO FLOORS DANIEL IN COURT
The legal battle for the soul of the Ogun State chapter of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ended yesterday with the camp of former president, Olusegun Obasanjo emerging victorious over the faction loyal to Governor Gbenga Daniel.
The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja in its judgment affirmed former ECOMOG commander, General Adetunji Idowu Olurin as the governorship candidate of the PDP in Ogun State just as it also cleared all the candidates put forward by Obasanjo for the forthcoming April elections.
Specifically, Justice Abdul Kafarati in his judgment in a suit filed by General Olurin against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the PDP, the court upheld the dissolution of the Daniel faction.
Justice Kafarati held that the faction lacked legitimacy to embark on primary elections having been dissolved since August 6, 2010. He said an Abeokuta High Court exparte order of August 11, 2010 being held on to by the governor's faction to draw legitimacy could not stand in the face of any law because the National Executive Committee (NEC) and National Working Committee (NWC) of PDP had already dissolved the faction on August 6, 2010.
The court held that the ex-parte order ought not to have been issued in the first instance by the High Court in Abeokuta since the act complained against had already been completed. Besides, the court held that another Federal High Court in Lagos had on September 21 last year stopped the Joju Fadairo-led exco from existing and from conducting any primary elections.
Justices Kafarati held that the court order was subsisting and must be respected until when set aside.
The judge, therefore, set aside the parallel primary elections conducted by Chief Fadairo-led dissolved committee on the ground of lacking the legitimacy to do so and upheld the primary election conducted by a harmonized executive committee put in place by PDP headquarters and believed be loyal to the former president.
The court held that the only valid primary election result was that of the harmonized body under the headship of Chief Idowu Soremi and which produced the candidates of the former president as flagbearers for the April poll. Former president Obasanjo and Governor Daniel had been engaged in battle over control of the PDP in the state.
The power tussle got to the climax when the two factions conducted parallel primary elections to pick candidates for governorship, Senate, House of Representatives among others in the April election.
The governorship candidate in the Obasanjo faction, General Olurin (rtd) later sued the suit INEC and PDP, claiming that Daniel's faction should not be recognized and that the faction lacked legitimacy to present candidates for elective offices in Ogun in view of the dissolution of the faction in august last year.
An order of ex-parte was granted by the court and restrained INEC and PDP from accepting candidates from the governor's faction and also ordered the candidates of the governor, including the governor himself from holding themselves as PDP candidates.
However, barely 10 minutes after the judgment was delivered, the PDP stormed the Court of Appeal in Abuja and filed a notice of appeal asking the court to set aside the judgment for being a nullity.
In the notice of appeal filed by Mr. Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), the faction complained that the Federal High Court has no jurisdiction over the case it adjudicated upon and that its decision cannot affect persons who were not parties in the suit.
The party apparently taking side with the Governor Daniel's faction claimed that the court arrived at the judgment based on claim that the Joju Fadairo-led executive had been dissolved and that a harmonized executive was in place, adding that the judgment was predicated on worthless pieces of evidence.
No date has been fixed for the appeal.
Reacting to the judgement Olurin gave thanks to the Almighty God for the victory and extended the hands of fellowship to the supporters of Governor Daniel. Describing the PDP as a one big family, Olurin supported by the Director General of his campaign, Alhaji Sarafadeen Tunji Isola sought the co-operation of every member of the party for them to be able to win in the forthcoming elections.
'We give thanks to Almighty God. This victory today at Abuja is victory for all in Ogun State. It's victory to PDP as a big family. It is victory to the citizens and people of Ogun State. I want to assure everyone that in this judgement, there is no victor, no vanguished.
'I'm looking forward to embrace every member of the party so that we can work together to make Ogun State a better place,' he declared. He also commended the judiciary in the country, describing it as the last hope of the common man.
In his own reaction, Mr. Gboyega Nasir Isiaka who spoke through his media aide, Mr. Bolaji Adeniji hinted that he and his group were going to appeal the judgement. His words: 'There are many options; one of it is appeal. They can't go away with it because the judgment does not align with the argument of our team of lawyers.'