EVERY human society is governed by laws embedded in a sacrosanct book called the Constitution. From small human groups to the large one, order and processes are guided and conducted with the aid of such body of laws.
Ipso facto, as a lawyer and advocate of the realm, unravelling events within the leading political party in my State, PDP has prompted me to sit back and take a little break, and devote some times to study the Constitution of the party to empower me to take a position on issues regarding the forthcoming elections in November.
First of all, it is important to establish that there are no factions in Ondo PDP from the purview of PDP Constitution as those who constituted themselves as one have no legal basis and as such, lacks locus standi as far as the law is concerned. Arising from that, there is only one PDP in Ondo state and that PDP conducted its primary elections which produced Eyitayo Jegede SAN as the flagbearer of the party on Monday August 22nd 2016. I shall justify my position succinctly.
The Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 as amended, the fons et origo and enabler of all statutes and regulations in Nigeria empowers the Constitutions of each political parties to be used as guide for smooth administration of the affairs of parties in Nigeria.
As such, Section 24 and 25 of the PDP constitution 2012 as amended clearly describes the Constitution of a state structure of the party from the State Executive Committee to the State Congress which is the only legitimate body to elect the state Executive Committee of the party. Ipso facto, those two sections of the PDP Constitution granted legitimacy to the state Congress which was also monitored by INEC that brought in Engr. Clement Faboyede-led state executive.
In addition to the above, those who are constituting themselves as a faction loyal to the erstwhile Acting-National Chairman of the party, Senator Alli Modu Sheriff are acting in contravention of the PDP Constitution. Section 33 (5b) of the PDP Constitution 2012 as amended clearly states that: the National convention shall have and exercise authority to Elect or remove the National Officers of the party. By the virtue of this, Sheriff is a history in PDP.
Furthermore, Section 33 (5e) of the same Constitution also states that the National Convention shall have and exercise the authority to appoint such committees, as it may deem necessary, desirable or expedient and assign to them such powers and functions as it may deem fit. These were the two critical decisions taken at the Portharcourt National Convention of the PDP in May this year. One removing the Sheriff-led national executive committee and also constituting the Makarfi-led caretaker committee as the legitimate national executive committee of the party.
From the above, nobody can claim legitimacy or undertake any activity in the name of PDP in Ondo state other than the Engr. Clement Faboyede-led state executive committee as such will amount to criminality and illegality and which from the purview of the law shall be nullity.
Taking a cue from a clarification given by INEC on August 9 in their letter to the Ogun State Independent Electoral commission, INEC clearly stated that the commission only relates with the Makarfi-led committee as the legitimate body governing the affairs of the PDP. It is therefore instructive to state that the case cannot be different from Ondo State.
There is therefore no gainsaying to state that in addition to the fact that the PDP Constitution does not recognize faction, the above facts also suffice to support the fact that there are no factions in Ondo PDP. As such, the PDP primaries held on August 22 is the only avenue that can provide the flagbearer of the party as INEC cannot go against the law to monitor two primaries in the same party.
Again, this was reaffirmed some hours ago by the Ondo state INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Olusegun Agbaje in a news interview on Adaba f.m when he said; ”We are not aware the PDP in Ondo state has factions. As far as the laws are concerned, there’s only one PDP… So, we are not aware the party is conducting another primary election besides the one we monitored.”
Notice should be taken also of the injunction order granted by the Chief Judge of Ondo State, Honourable Justice Olasehinde Kumuyi against the holding of another gubernatorial primary for PDP, as at the last time I checked the order is still in operation yet I was alarmed to read a notice in the dailies to the effect that preparation is being made to conduct the outlaw primary! The publication and the mere intention of holding the outlaw primary is contemptuous with dire consequences.
Contempt of court, often referred to simply as “contempt”, is the offense of being disobedient to or disrespectful towards a court of law and its officers in the form of behavior that opposes or defies the authority, justice, and dignity of the court, here to the Ondo State Court, judiciary and the government of Ondo State.
It is of concern to me particularly when taken into consideration the nature of the law abiding and discerning people of Ondo State who would pull any stops in ensuring that their temple of Justice is not defiled.
It is therefore imperative that I send words of caution to the would be contemptor to stay away from the State of principled and proud people, who I know, will find it imperative to protect their courts from being disrespected.
Conclusively, it is worthy of note that Ondo State political gladiators must not take the priceless peaceful atmosphere in the state for granted. As the memory of the Ajasin/Omoboriowo crises is still fresh in many of us.
May the Almighty continue to guard and guide us aright.