Akin Akande, Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has shifted its special convention earlier fixed for July 20 due to the Muslim Ramadan fast. A new date has not yet been fixed.
Also shifted is the Zonal Congress for the South-west, earlier scheduled for July 11.
This is even as Ogun state chapter of the party, warned the leadership of PDP against declaring position of National Secretary, which was held by Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola vacant.
The Chairman and Secretary of the Ogun State chapter of the Party, Mr. Adebayo Dayo and Alhaji Semiu Shodipo, have petitioned the national leadership of the party, warning that election must not be conducted to fill the vacant office of its National Secretary, vacated by Oyinlola, due to court pronouncement.
The duo said it was wrong for the party to contemplate conducting zonal congress, with the aim of beginning a process that would lead to the election of a replacement for Oyinlola.
Oyinlola, former governor of Osun State was sacked by a Federal High Court judgment, which ruled that the zonal congress that nominated him for the position was illegal.
The duo maintained that the conduct of the proposed zonal congress would be contrary to the court pronouncement on the matter.
The position of Dayo and Shodipo, which was contained in their petition sent to the Chairman of the National Convention of the party, Prof. Jerry Gana, was also made available to journalists in Abuja on Wednesday.
Others copied in the petition were his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu; Chairman of Board of Trustees of the party, Chief Tony Anenih and President Goodluck Jonathan.
Also petitioned were the National Chairman of the party, Dr. Bamanga Tukur; Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Ogiadomhe; Chairman, Caretaker Committee of the party in the South-west, Chief Ishola Filani and the Political Adviser to the President, Mr. Ahmed Gulak.
The petition was written by the lawyer to the plaintiffs in the suit Number FHC/ABJ/504/2012 in which judgment was delivered by the Federal High Court removing Oyinlola as the National Secretary, Mr. Ajibola Oluyede.
The duo warned that the planned July 11 convention in the zone aimed at electing Oyinlola’s replacement must be put on hold.
Their letter reads in part, “We are Solicitors to the Plaintiffs in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/504/2012 in which judgment was delivered by the Federal High Court removing Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola as National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the 11th of January 2013.
The petition read in part: “Following the resignation of certain members of the National Working Committee of the PDP on the 19th of June 2013 your committee was inaugurated to conduct elections (at a special convention convened for the purpose) into the offices in respect of which those affected officers had resigned.
“This was apparently perceived by leaders of the PDP as a peaceful resolution of a festering discord within the party concerning the position taken by the Independent National Electoral Commission about the procedure adopted for the election of some unopposed candidates to the National Executive Committee of the Party at its National Convention in March 2012.
“However, our attention has been drawn to the advertisements placed concerning the planned Special Convention and certain statements of some of the Party’s elders, which show that there is the erroneous and dangerous belief that the office of National Secretary is one of the offices to be filled by election at the planned Special Convention,” they stated in their petition.
They contended that the INEC report on which basis the affected members of the NWC resigned, excluded the election of the National Secretary at the last convention from its negative finding.
This, they said, meant that there was no controversy about the validity of the election conducted at the last National Convention of the PDP in March 2012 into the office of National Secretary.
They, however, appealed to the party to also await the emergence of the nominee of the South-west Zone at its forthcoming Zonal Congress, “who should then merely be sworn in as National Secretary on the basis of the valid election already conducted into that office, at the National convention of the party in March 2012, as confirmed by the INEC report.”
Oyinlola, in a statement issued on Wednesday faulted the position canvassed by the South-West Zonal Caretaker Committee Chairman of the party, Chief Isola Filani, declaring the position of the party’s National Secretary vacant.
He described the assertion as disappointing, illogical, pedestrian and unfortunate in view of its moral and legal implications as well as the attendant obvious violation of the party’s constitution and disrespect for the rule of law.