The crisis rocking the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, seems to have taken another turn, as the ousted National Secretary of the party, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, has warned the newly inaugurated mini-convention head, Prof. Jerry Gana, not to conduct an election into the party’s national secretary’s office.
The former Osun governor said such an exercise will eventually be null and void, as he was prepared to reclaim his seat.
Oyinlola, who was sacked from office by an Abuja High Court in January, is presently appealing the judgement and has vowed to pursue the matter up to the Supreme Court.
In a letter he personally signed and addressed to the Chairman of the National Convention Committee, copying President Jonathan, Vice President Namadi Sambo, PDP National Chairman, the party’s BoT Chairman, Senate President, Speaker House of Reps and Chairman, PDP Governors Forum, Oyinlola, he advised the convention committee to stay action, arguing that any move would be subjudice to the pending suit.
The letter with reference number 00/PDP/32 and titled “Clarification Of the Position Of the PDP National Secretary” reads:
“I present to you my very warm and sincere compliments and also congratulate you on your appointment as the Chairman of the PDP National Convention Committee, put together to organize elections into vacant positions in the National Working Committee of our great Party at a convention slated to hold in July 2013. I note with due respect that it is indeed an onerous responsibility that commands and demands the upholding of the Constitution of the Peoples Democratic Party, part of which emphasizes ‘’promotion of an egalitarian society founded on freedom, equality and justice.’’
“I am constrained to invite your attention to some very salient facts with the intention of further guiding your esteemed Committee in conducting a free and fair exercise premised on truth and respect for the Constitution of our great party, as well as the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended. I note with every humility that the Motto of our party is: ‘’Justice, Unity and Progress,’’ which also makes it essential for all law-abiding members of the PDP to promote only those ideals that are germane to the progress of the Party, while also upholding the fundamental human rights of its members, as contained in our nation’s laws.
“I have been reliably informed of the intention of the National Convention Committee, appointed to conduct a mini National Convention to elect some national officers of the Peoples Democratic Party, whose elections were invalidated by the report of INEC on the conduct of the national convention of March 24, 2012. It is abundantly evident that INEC cleared my election as the PDP National Secretary, a position from which I assert and maintain, that I was unjustly and unconstitutionally removed by a January 11, 2013, ruling of the Federal High Court, Abuja delivered by the Hon. Justice Abdu Kafarati. “I have read series of media reports which indicate that the position of the National Secretary would be contested at the upcoming national convention of our great Party. Let me say that I was taken aback by the pronouncement of the former National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh who declared, in a briefing of journalists after a meeting of the National Working Committee with His Excellency, Mr. President last week that the position of the National Secretary was vacant, giving indications that it would be contested.
“I state with every humility that Chapter VII (3) of the PDP Constitution states that ‘’The guidelines for elections to any office of the Party shall be approved at the National Executive Committee of the Party, in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.” This implies that even if PDP NEC, or any other body decided that an election should be conducted into any office of the Party, such an election MUST be conducted in accordance with the provisions of the extant PDP Constitution. The PDP Constitution does not give room for the emergence of national officers from the zones of the country; but from the national convention.
“It is most regrettable that some occurrences of the past few months at the national secretariat of our great Party have given cause to suspicion that I am being unduly persecuted for no just cause. I wish to remind you that I was removed by a Federal High Court order which is being vigorously contested and pursued at the Court of Appeal. I am constrained to point out that I have the constitutional right to go up to the Supreme Court in exercise of my fundamental human rights, which I am fiercely and vigorously protecting.
“My modest submission is that the National Convention Committee would be trampling on some provisions of not only the PDP Constitution, but also the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended, if it goes ahead to conduct an election into the Office of National Secretary, which is still in contention. Validly and meekly put, it would amount to contempt of court for your Committee, the PDP, or whichsoever body is interested in filling the position of National Secretary, to take such a pre-emptive step which would be disrespectful to the Judiciary. More importantly, such an action would portray the PDP as a lawless political organization, not only in the eyes of right-thinking members of the society, but also in the estimation of the international community.
“Allow me to point out that it is the position of the law that once an indication of an appeal to a higher court of competent jurisdiction is given and all the parties have been duly served and put on notice that I have appealed against the judgement of the Federal High Court which nullified my election as National Secretary, all actions should be allowed to be determined by the higher court. It is my conviction that it would amount to pre-empting the ruling of the Court of Appeal and a breach of the principles of natural justice, should the National Convention Committee, or any organ or creation of the PDP go ahead to fill the position of National Secretary of the PDP, which is still a subject of judicial arbitration.
“I should be most grateful for your taking the necessary steps to ensure that our great Party does not flout its own Constitution and regulations, and more importantly, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) by refraining from conducting election into the Office of the National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party pending the determination of my suit in court, or at most the expiration of my four-year tenure as guaranteed by the PDP Constitution.
“Please find attached a copy of the processes filed at the Court of Appeal, Abuja Judicial Division on the matter under reference. The Court Processes were filed at the appropriate Court by my lawyers on January 14, 2013. We were given a date for the commencement of hearing of the suit in May 2013, but regrettably, the Court could not sit and therefore, had to adjourn because the Hon. Justices of the Court of Appeal, Abuja Judicial Division, were otherwise engaged. Accordingly, you are respectfully informed of the pendency of a suit on the election into the Office of National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party.
“While thanking you for your attention, please accept the assurances of my warmest regards and best wishes.”