Daily Trust (Abuja)

17 February 2013

Nigeria: Sack - Obasanjo's Men Regroup in Abeokuta

Abuja and Abeokuta — Dipo Odujirin-led factional leadership of Ogun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday met to discuss the decision of the party's National Working Committee (NWC) to sack them with a pledge to take the case to the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting for final resolution. Alhaji Bamanga Tukur-led NWC had on Friday removed its National Vice Chairman South-West Engr.Segun Oni and National Auditor Chief Bode Mustapha who hails from the crises-ridden Ogun State.

Instead, the NWC gave recognition to Dayo Soremi-led factional party executive in Ogun State that produced Alhaji Fatai Adewole Adeyanju as validly elected National Auditor and constituted a 17-member Zonal Caretaker led by an aide of Tukur, Barrister Ishola Filani, for the South-West.

The removal of the embattled former National Secretary of the party Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Engr. Oni and Chief Mustapha was seen as a ploy to stop all loyalists of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who resigned as PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) Chairman last year from influencing party activities at various levels ahead of 2015 general elections.

This, Sunday Trust gathered, would enable Tukur deliver presidential ticket easily to President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015, having been faced with serious opposition from the party's governors who expected him to respect his December 16, 2010 pledge to spend one-term of four years.

By this decision, Obasanjo may not have much influence on who becomes the PDP presidential candidate in 2015 if the resolution goes unchallenged.

Rising from an emergency meeting held yesterday at Bode Mustapha office in Abeokuta, the dissolved factional PDP chairman Odujirin vowed to challenge the decision.

Odujirin, who spoke with newsmen after the meeting, said the party was shocked by the dissolution news and hoped that the NEC will do the right thing so that it would not affect the fortune of the party in future elections.

"We received with shock, the pronouncement of the National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Olisa Metuh in the newspapers this morning (Saturday). I found it very disturbing because we saw the signs during the week when we observed that J.K Gadzama (SAN) issued a notice of discontinuance of the Appeals against the court cases which the National Publicity Secretary referred to as reasons which the committee used to take their decision.

"It was very obvious that the appeals were going against the Buruji Kashamu group and if you all recall, in an attempt to stop one of the Appeals, the Bayo Dayo group wrote a petition in which he alledged that Chief Obasanjo gave money to Chief Afe Babalola to bribe Court of Appeal Justices who were going to seat on the Appeal on that day and that made the Appeal Court to excuse themselves from the matter.

"If the Appeal has been heard, the whole situations would have been different but in order not to allow the Appeal to be heard, that was why the NWC withdrew the Appeal suddenly and was now able to use the ruling that were subsisting in taking their decision which they said they took two days ago," he explained.

Odujirin added that "at our meeting this afternoon, we have resolved in accordance with article 31 sub-sections 2(8) of our constitution to appeal to the NEC of the party which is the much higher body than the NWC and we believe that our appeal to that body would receive a favourable consideration and this injustice is corrected.

"We put our faith in the NEC of PDP and trust that the right thing will be done. The announcement said that the congress conducted by Soremi-led state exco is now upheld instead of the fact that Professor Alkali, the then National Publicity Secretary of PDP led Kawu Baraje NWC made an advertorial in the Punch newspaper, stopping that Soremi congress from holding.

"And it was that same Congress that didn't exist that the current Olisa Metuh now recognised that it is going to be upheld. That is why we are now going to NEC to tell us what to do. I don't think that this is how to ensure genuine reconciliation; this has further polarized the situation".

While contending that the withdrawal of the appeals had some sinister motive, he said there was an authorized congress held on August 4, 2012 which produced its faction.

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