•Accuses PDP of ambushing judiciary
Chuks Okocha and Tobi Soniyi
Suspended National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olagunsoye Oyinlola, has approached the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, to challenge his suspension from the party.
In the suit filed by his counsel, Professor Awa Kalu (SAN), Oyinlola asked the court to set aside his suspension.
The former governor of Osun State, also in a statement, faulted the party's justification of his suspension and accused the PDP of ambushing the judiciary by the action aimed at stalling his resumption following the judgment of the Court of Appeal that quashed his removal as the party's national secretary.
In the suit, Oyinlola argued that due process of the law was not followed before he was suspended from the party, adding that his suspension was an affront to the constitution of the party.
According to him, there are procedures to be followed before he could be suspended and that the procedures were not followed.
He is asking the court to reverse his suspension from the party.
Oyinlola was suspended by the PDP on November 11 alongside the Chairman of the New PDP, Alhaji Abubakar Baraje, his deputy, Sam Jaja and National Vice Chairman (North-west) of PDP, Ambassador Ibrahim Kazaure.
The suspension was to prevent Oyinlola, who had threatened to resume office after a Court of Appeal judgment reinstated him, from doing so.
Oyinlola’s statement yesterday also faulted the party's National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Olisa Metuh, who tried to justify his suspension.
Oyinlola in a statement signed by his Principal Secretary, Mr. Femi Adelegan, said Metuh was trying to stand logic on its head in an attempt to hoodwink the citizenry and muddle up facts following the criticisms that trailed attempts by the party's National Working Committee (NWC) to ambush the judiciary and circumvent rules and regulations.
‘’The latest design of the PDP NWC to muddle up facts relating to its conduct on the suspension of Oyinlola, Baraje and others, which have been widely greeted by condemnations, was not surprising given its penchant for peddling falsehood, as well as its love for dictatorship and acts of impunity,” it said.
The statement added that rather than “pursue the path of honour, the NWC is engaging in a macabre dance of shame which has ridiculed Nigeria in the eyes of right thinking members of the global society."
‘’The contradictory explanations contained in the publication simply tell sordid stories of robust disregard for constitutionalism and the rule of law, as well as a deliberate blatant assault on our courts, without due regard for good conscience and morality.
“The opinion of Metuh suggests that the need to suspend Oyinlola, Baraje and others was considered as an act of emergency by the NWC, which considered it expedient to nail the accused officials without following the due process instead of respecting the rule of law. But Nigerians who are highly educated cannot be fooled because everybody knows that the only emergency in that decision was the grand design to prevent Oyinlola from resuming office as the national secretary in accordance with the order of the Court of Appeal that reinstated him to office as national secretary of the PDP.
’Without any doubt, it is highly ridiculous that the PDP national publicity secretary could advance the argument that the NWC considered some allegations concocted by the same organ of PDP to summarily suspend members of its National Executive Committee of the party and goes ahead to state that it was not necessary for the NWC, which assumed the role of the accuser and the judge to place on notice the affected party leaders, and ask for their reactions before wielding its big hammer.
“This is indeed maladministration which cannot be justified and we have gone to court to contest that reckless act of illegality. Even a Grade Level 01 officer in the public service of the Federal Republic of Nigeria cannot be summarily suspended without notification and explanations”, Oyinlola said.
According to him, the constitution of the PDP prescribes the mode of managing the party and this was ignored by the NWC in its hurry to thwart the judgment of the Court of Appeal.
“I believe that the major causes of internal conflicts in the PDP are mutual suspicion and inability to pursue the path of moral rectitude. "The PDP constitution gives two-thirds of members (8 out of 12) the authority to take valid decisions that would be binding on NWC as constituted. Yet, the PDP NWC has been able to call only two meetings of the NEC, Board of Trustees and national caucus in its 20 months of existence, when the PDP constitution prescribes a quarterly meeting.
“It is patently clear that our colleagues on the NWC have refused to protect the constitution of the PDP which they swore to uphold, by acting in accordance with their individual conscience, for various reasons best known to them; and for which they will soon be held accountable whenever the disciplinary committee is legally and validly inaugurated’.
‘’The PDP constitution allows for ‘checks and balances as control mechanism. I humbly submit that we must watch our actions and avoid taking steps that cannot be based on the principles of transparency, accountability and steering the ship of our great Party by responsible leadership,’’ he added.
He said the NWC had lost credibility because of its disregard for rules and regulations as well as lack of respect for truth, law and order.