By Clifford Ndujihe & Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA—THE Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governorship candidate, in Ogun State, Mr. Oladipupo Adebutu, yesterday, decried an alleged plot by a camp in the party to change the party’s list of candidates at the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, ahead of the 2019 general elections.
This is even as spokesperson of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, similarly raised concerns over attempts by the Kashamu faction to submit a list of candidates to INEC on Tuesday night but for the quick intervention of the Legal Adviser of the electoral body, who rejected the list because it was neither endorsed by the National Chairman nor the Secretary.
The governorship candidate made the disclosure on Wednesday at the Headquarters of the PDP during a media parley with journalists.
This came as the Senator Buruji Kashamu-backed Ogun State PDP executive committee led by Engr. Adebayo Dayo faulted the national body of the party, saying that INEC’s action in recognising the Kashamu list of candidates was right on account of a court ruling. However, Kashamu appears to be in a dilemma as the PDP national hierarchy is against his list of candidates.
Adebutu said: “The National Working Committee, NWC set up election and screening committees, forms were sold, we participated in the primaries and 40 candidates emerged in Ogun state. But a parallel group printed some forms, sold the forms, held a convention and people emerged. If we allow this kind of lawlessness where people will stay in their rooms, claim they have done primaries go to court and obtain an injunction and take it to INEC and it will be accepted, then there is trouble. The element of transparency is totally destroyed. The law clearly states that there shall be only one primary organised by a party.”
Collaborating Adebutu’s views, Ologbondiyan explained that the same group went to INEC Tuesday night with another list but because it was not endorsed by the National Chairman of the party and the legal adviser, the INEC jettisoned it.
He clarified that PDP submitted its list for Ogun as early as October 18 while the faction made its first attempt to submit its list four days later.
Countering Ologbondiyan, the Engr. Adebayo Dayo-led Ogun State Executive Committee, in a statement said: ‘’It should be clearly pointed out that INEC did not accept the list of candidates from any state chapter. Rather, the Commission merely complied with several judgments and orders of court in FHC/L/CS/636/2016, FHC/L/CS/1556/2017 and FHC/ABK/CS/114/2018.
‘’We make haste to add that the appeal against the over two and a half years old judgment in FHC/L/CS/636/2016 has since been dismissed by the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal (precisely, on the 4th of May, 2017). A further attempt to have the appeal relisted was struck out on the 11th of July, 2018 and a cost of N200, 000 awarded against the applicants. Therefore, there is no pending appeal against the substantive judgment in FHC/L/CS/636/2016. What is presently before the Supreme Court is an application asking the apex court to review the decision of the Court of Appeal not to relist the dismissed appeal.
‘’Clearly, the decision of the electoral body is in conformity with established norms and standards all over the world. It is in the interest of our democracy and the course of justice for ever