In what appears to be a deft political move to further weaken its rival’s position, the Peoples Democratic Party PDP has invited the Abubakar Baraje led faction to appear before it to answer charges of anti-party activities.
But in a swift reaction, suspended national secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola has described the PDP Disciplinary Committee illegal and unknown to the party’s constitution.
“It is rather funny, illogical and antithetical to democratic conduct for the NWC that has consistently denigrated the judiciary, the constitution of the PDP and even the extant grund norm of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to be talking about discipline and internal party democracy, when it has continued to show disregard for the rule of law, and fundamental human rights,” Oyinlola declared.
The Umaru Dikko-led Disciplinary Committee of the ruling party formally invited the suspended former acting chairman , Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, former deputy national chairman, Dr Sam Jaja, national secretary Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Ambassador Ibrahim Kazaure to appear before it next Wednesday, November 27, 2013 to defend themselves on five-count allegations of misconduct inimical to the party.
A statement signed by the committee secretary, Onwe Solomon Onwe, who doubled as the deputy national secretary of the party on Thursday, said it had received cases of anti-party activities against Baraje, Oyinlola, Jaja and Kazaure from the party’s National Working Committee (NWC), asking them to appear before it at the PDP presidential campaign office in Abuja.
The statement said, in keeping with Section 57(4) of the PDP constitution, it has since informed the affected persons of the allegations and subsequently invited them to state their own side of the story.
“The charges against the accused include staging a walkout along with others at the August 31, 2013, Special Convention of the party in a manner contrary to Section 58(1)(b)(g) and (h) of the party’s constitution; and dragging the party to court on September 2, 2013 without first exploring the internal remedies of the party contrary to Section 58(1) (L) of the constitution,” it stated.
They were also accused of making disparaging statements in the media against the PDP national chairman, Bamanga Tukur, and other national leaders of the party; unduly publicizing disputes/differences within the party contrary to Section 58(1)(i) of the party’s constitution.”
Oyinlola particularly wrote letters to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on September 1 and 23, 2013, respectively seeking recognition for the suspended members as NWC members of PDP.
They were further accused of factionalising the party by creating “new PDP” and recruiting members of the party in the National Assembly into their ranks since August 31, 2013, contrary to the provisions of the party’s constitution.
“The affected persons may wish to present their cases orally or in writing either in person or through a counsel of their choice. They may also wish to call witnesses,” the committee said.
But Oyinlola said he had sworn to an oath of office stipulating that he will respect and protect the grund norm of the PDP in his capacity as the custodian of the seal of the party.
Oyinlola, who spoke through his media aide Mr. Deji Falegan in a statement, said he was conscious of the provisions of the PDP constitution which states without any equivocation that “nominations to membership of the Disciplinary Committee at the national level shall be ratified by the National Executive Council of the PDP”.
In effect, he said, Oyinlola, “as a law-abiding member of the PDP is not aware of the composition of any disciplinary panel that is not ratified or known to the National Executive Committee of the PDP.”
“This reaction itself is being made out courtesy for the media and its right to inform and be informed, as Oyinlola has not received any correspondence from any quarters and would not honour any invitation from any illegal body since that would amount to violating the constitution of the party,” he stated.
“As individuals and elders, the PDP national secretary has great respect for the members of the NWC committee that is, however, not recognised by the PDP constitution which stipulates that the party’s NEC is the statutory body to approve the composition of a disciplinary body at the national level,” he stated.
‘’It is important to stress that the first meeting of NEC of PDP, which is statutorily expected to be a quarterly affair, deliberated on the composition of NEC but never agreed on its membership at the meeting. I am also sure that the second NEC meeting, out of the seven meetings that ought to have been held statutorily by the present NWC did not also agree on the membership of any Disciplinary Committee.”
“All these could only indicate indecent political behaviour and lack of accountability and integrity as the party’s spokesman, Chief Olisa Metuh, who in his interview with the Sun newspaper of Tuesday, November 19, 2013, was quoted as saying ‘if you didn’t commit the act, the party will not suspend you; he stated the position of the NWC to summarily accuse and judge Oyinlola and others,” Oyinlola argued.
Adding that, “Metuh’s reaction clearly gives cause for concern about their true commitment to democracy. I wish to re-assert that I will NEVER compromise illegalities and destructive tendencies that border on the culture of impunity, tyranny and oppression that could be interpreted as the hallmark of dictatorship.
This is indeed the time for introspection and protection of the PDP from descent into anarchy’. If these people truly mean well, they would have taken the pains to examine the causes and effects of occurrences that are fragmenting the PDP instead of further adopting measures designed to put the PDP into disrepute. I was removed by Justice Kafarati on January 11, 2013, and vacated office immediately, as a politician with honour, respect for the rule of law, and a second address.
“Between January and August 2013, I took steps to dialogue with the national leader, His Excellency President Goodluck Jonathan and communicated my grievances to him in writing a couple of times; I made representations to the Chief Tony Anenih Committee; I submitted a memorandum to the PDP Governors Panel headed by His Excellency Alhaji Ibrahim Shema; consulted with the Prof. Jerry Gana Committee.”
“And also had informal consultations with the Governor Seriake Dickson Reconciliation Committee through Chief Dosu Fatokun and agreed to meet with the committee, among other moves, to find an amicable solution to my persecution and illegal removal from office. Yet, they have continued to trail Oyinlola with rabid and unimaginable downbeat intentions.”
“I pray that history will be merciful in judgement to all actors in this saga; and that some people will refrain from continuing to take actions that would enter their names on the negative pages of history.”