By Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe
Political party constitution and valid resolutions at duly constituted meetings are for all intent and purposes binding on members of the party, national or state chapters, while violators are dealt with according to subsisting disciplinary measures.
By agreement, it is meant; the act of agreeing or of coming to a mutual arrangement, the state of being in accord. An arrangement that is accepted by all parties to a transaction, a contract or other document delineating such an arrangement.
Agreement can be written or unwritten (Oral). Oral agreement is just as valid as a written agreement. A member of a political party is deemed to be a party to any agreement in force and binding on all registered members. The agreement also include subsisting resolutions and conventions.
It follows that any express or implied repudiation of subsisting agreement by any member of the party is considered a breach, provided that the breach occurred before performance and was not retracted.
By simple definition, an express repudiation is a clear, positive, unequivocal refusal to perform. Conversely, an implied repudiation results from conduct where the promisor puts it out of his or her power to perform, so as to make substantial performance of his or her promise impossible.
In the light of the above, let’s now deal with the vexed issue of Power Rotation Agreement, PRA, within the Delta State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, wherein a school of thought is of the legal opinion that any senatorial district that expressly or impliedly repudiated the rotation agreement had as a matter of fact breached the arrangement and therefore can no longer benefit from it.
Considered legal opinion
In my considered legal opinion, it will be unfair and ridiculous to punish or sanction a senatorial district in a situation where PDP Delta Central, for example, is not the offender, rather it was a deliberate action of certain individual(s), member(s) of the party who was or were over ambitious and power hungry.
It is not on record anywhere and I stand to be corrected, that Delta Central Senatorial Exco in a public statement or resolution expressly or impliedly repudiated the rotation agreement in 2015.
The truth of the matter is that certain individuals within the party, who for selfish personal reasons wanted to grab power at all cost, when it was not the turn of the senatorial district(s) to produce the next PDP Governor.
The real offender in the above scenario cannot be the Senatorial District but the individuals themselves who in 2015, contested the governorship election as aspirants, funded their campaign and never retracted the reputation before performance (day of party primaries).
And in 2015, a particular individual or individuals in PDP who ought to abide by the PRA breached the arrangement by participating as aspirant(s) at the party primaries held in Asaba. This is the actual bone of contention.
And on the other hand, if the party senatorial district had passed a resolution or made public pronouncement that it will no longer abide by the power rotation agreement, and subsequently urged all eligible and qualified aspirants in that district to contest against the beneficiary senatorial district, her right to benefit from the PRA cannot be restored; whether or not it failed to grab the party’s ticket.
It is the law that retraction of express or implied repudiation must be clear and unequivocal, and the one who repudiates and then retracts the repudiation may not impose new conditions, not in accord with the original contract or agreement, as decided in Pichignau v. Paris (1968) 264 Cal.App.2d 138.
In Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition, LLC v. Town of Mammoth Lakes (2010) 191 Cal.App.4th 435.), it was held that “If the repudiation is retracted prior to the time of performance, then the repudiation is nullified and the injured party is left with his remedies, if any, invocable at the time of performance.”
In 2015, the repudiation by certain registered members of the party was not retracted before the party primaries.
It must be stated unequivocally, that any kind of contract or agreement may be deemed to have been broken or breached, once one party (and in the instant case any registered PDP member who acted on his own volution), regardless of when performance is supposed to take place.
That is, repudiation of the PRA without retraction, on or before party gubernatorial primaries prevents him or her from benefiting from the PRA, now and in the future. Period!
This unconditional refusal to honour and to abide by Delta PDP power rotation agreement, is known as a “repudiation” of a contract or agreement, either written or unwritten (Oral).
This unholy behaviour cum open display of absolute disregard for subsisting agreement within PDP corporate political entity, points to show that the defaulting individuals are either above the law, bigger than the party, or that they are relying on powerful entities to free themselves unconditionally from the obvious gross misconduct and repulsive character traits, not good at all for responsible leadership.
In view of the legal principles and few verdicts by Courts of competent jurisdictions cited above, the injured party in 2015 PDP gubernatorial primaries was the beneficiary senatorial district under the power rotation agreement.
If the defaulting individual member(s) had clinched the party ticket at the primaries in 2015, that would have prematurely ended or cancelled the power rotation agreement forever.
This is why leaders of Delta Central Senatorial District or any lobby group for that matter must thread with caution, and of a necessity do the needful to pacify Delta North, as a result of the improper behaviour of those defaulting individuals, and violators of PRA in 2015.
In the same vein, defaulting individual members of the party under the PDP power rotation agreement must never be allowed to benefit from it. It is truism that you cannot eat your cake and have it. To do this is to serve adequate and/or substantial justice to cure and/or heal the wounds of the injured party.
And in the instant case, It is only fair to separate PDP Delta Central from the deviant individuals. It is the turn of Delta Central to produce the next PDP Governor in 2023; but the emphasis must be on a popular, humble, visionary, incorruptible personality.
And it does not include any of those individuals who deliberately and consciously repudiated the PRA in 2015. It is my personal opinion in this matter. That is the only practical remedy to restore confidence in the power rotation arrangement.
Choice by delegates
The choice by delegates at the forthcoming Delta PDP party primaries must be an individual with credible antecedents in party politics and public service, unblemished integrity, a man or woman with the fear of God; tested, trusted and ready to improve on the enviable landmark achievements cum laudable legacies of Okowa administration.
In fact, the PRA violators in 2015, ought to face the party disciplinary committee for appropriate sanctions. One of the fundamental elements of a valid contract or agreement is the “intention to create legal relationship.” And it is hereby recommended under the PRA, if practicable in the face of constitutional provisions, going forward.
The benefits of power rotation cannot be overemphasized, and PDP Delta State party leaders under the leadership of the state governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, should endeavour to do anything and everything within their God given powers to ensure that the party do not jettison the power rotation agreement.
Olorogun Oghenesivbe is a Lawyer, Justice of the Peace, JP, and Executive Assistant to the Governor of Delta State on Communications.