16 February 2013

Nigeria: Oyinlola - PDP, Friend or Foe?

What awaits the removed PDP National Secretary Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola is gradually unraveling. Oyinlola, former Osun State governor, was removed from office as PDP national secretary following a court order in respect of the party's crisis in Ogun State, which, in my view, ought not to affect him in any way. The election of PDP national officers was conducted at the Eagle Square in Abuja. Oyinlola as national secretary was not elected at the South-west zonal congress nullified by the court. Zonal congresses have no business nominating anybody for election at PDP national level. This has been demonstrated in the purported election of Dr. Musa Babayo by the North-east zone as its choice for PDP chairman early last year as opposed to Alhaji Bamanga Tukur. Oyinlola is just suffering a collateral damage from the Ogun PDP crisis, which had pitted the Obasanjo faction against the Kasamu Buruji faction.

Justice Abdul Kafarati of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had asked Oyinlola to vacate his seat, saying he was not worthy to be recognised as national secretary as two court judgments had nullified the South-west zonal congress, which allegedly nominated him as national scribe. The PDP, which is not too known to expeditiously respect court judgments, had hastened to implement the order. And pronto, the party also appointed Oyinlola's deputy as acting national secretary.

It would appear Oyinlola did not take the court case seriously at the outset, believing it hardly affected him. He has since approached the same Justice Kafarati's court for a stay of execution of the judgment while also challenging the same verdict at the Court of Appeal. But last Tuesday his party, PDP, did the unexpected. It openly opposed Oyinlola's application for stay. Counsel to the party, Joe Kyari Gadzama (SAN), opposed the application, saying the court order was made on January 11 and Oyinlola slept and woke up on January 21, two weeks later, to be asking for stay. Truth is some powerful forces within the party and Aso Rock had stepped into the case the moment Oyinlola, a candidate of the PDP governors and former President Obasanjo, had aligned with some 11 PDP National Working Committee members to move against Chairman Bamanga Tukur over the Adamawa crisis, at a time the party's governors and Aso Rock are in some supremacy battle. It had been rumoured then that Oyinlola would be given the Justice Salami treatment: meaning he may never return to office as PDP scribe. So it's all unfolding before our eyes.

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