September 27, 2022 is an unforgettable day for many Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members in Ogun State in a hurry because of the indelible court ruling that was handed down that day. Earlier in the said day, members of various factions of the DPP crowded the Federal High Court in Abeokuta in anticipation of a positive verdict.
Some of the affected party leaders have gone to court to challenge the primaries that produced Lade Adebuto and others as PDP candidates in Ogun state.
The Federal High Court of Abeokuta issued, in Case No.: FHC/AB/CS/83/2022, between Prince Adesegun Seriki and Ors v INEC and Ors, as well as Case No.: FHC/AB/CS/87/2022, between Taiwo Olabode Idris and Ors v PDP and Ors, annulled all PDP primary elections in Ogun, and ordered the state executive to hold a runoff within 14 days.
The ruling immediately resulted in the PDP being “non-nominated” because the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released its final list without the names of those nominated by the Ogun PDP, citing a court order.
The ruling was a soothing balm to Adebuto’s opponents within the party and members of the ruling Progressive Congress (APC) party. But for those participating in the real competition PDP, Judge O. Oguntoyinbo’s statement was a blockage in the wheel of their progress.
It was not news that the APC supporters said in their accounts that the Ogun HDP will continue to oppose lawsuits until the 2023 general elections. The reason for this is not unrelated to the fact that the Ogun HDP alone is fighting a large number of court cases in various courts across the country. With this, other political parties continued to woo Adebuto’s supporters, telling them that the PDP would not be on the ballot in the 2023 elections.
The Daily Post reported that former Governor Ibikunle Amosun loyalists, who are now with Beyi Otigbay in the African Democratic Congress (ADC), saw the September 27 court decision as an opportunity to appeal to their people, who, along with Adekunle Akinlade, had withdrawn to the PDP. Little did they know that similar treatment awaited them in the same court, until November 25 when Otegbeye and all 26 ADC candidates were sacked.
For two months, the PDP’s political activities in Ogun State have been suspended. The party could not stop its election campaign, as even its followers lived in fear that there would be no candidates for the elections.
Our correspondent states that the actions of Jimmy Lawal, Segun Chunmee, Segun Segun Seriki and others indicated that Adebuto may not survive the legal battles facing him from various angles.
It should be noted that after the PDP’s National Action Committee appealed the Oguntoyinbo ruling, Jimmy Lawal quickly gathered some members of the State Action Committee to hold an illegal primaries, in which he declared himself the winner and gubernatorial candidate of the party.
Despite being expelled from the party, Lawal went to court requesting that he be declared the PDP’s candidate based on the aforementioned re-election primaries. But Justice Akintayo Aluko called the primaries illegal, unconstitutional and invalid.
Judge Aluko declared that the rerun of the primary allegedly held by Lawal on 17 October, was not in compliance with the orders issued by the Federal High Court, Abeokuta on 27 September.
Consolation after two months of stress
Reprieve came the way of Adebutu and his followers on November 28, when the Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan overturned the “painful” ruling of September 27 dismissing all PDP candidates.
Handing down the verdict, Judge Nimbar Yargata said that the trial court had made a mistake by annulling the primaries of the Ogun PDP, which was conducted by the National Council of Women.
Those who brought the case in the lower court, Yargata said, were not party aspirants and therefore had no right to challenge the results of the primary.
The ruling by the Court of Appeal removed the stumbling block for the PDP and cleared the way for the contenders.
However, as of the day of the Court of Appeal ruling, Lawal still has a pending case before the Federal High Court in Abuja, which also challenged Adebuto’s candidacy.
In his December 1 ruling, Judge Anyang Eko dismissed the suit as incompetent and lacking merit.
Judge Eko asserted that Lawal had failed to prove that the PDP had violated its laws in selecting its flag bearer, calling him a spoiler.
Although Jimmy Lawal has threatened to appeal the two verdicts, the PDP is currently working out how to settle all the grievances and enter the elections as one indivisible entity.
APC becomes tense, PDP claims
Meanwhile, the Ogun State DPP described the rulings as “a victory over individual shenanigans and a reckless grab of powers by some fifth columnists” within the DPP in the state.
The party’s spokesman in Ogun, Akinlewe Bankol, told the Daily Post the rulings were a testament to the legitimacy of the party’s determination that the Ogun people “will never be subjected to more years of hardship, mismanagement and senseless plundering of state resources to pay their personal funds.” debts, business expansion and settlement of family members, friends and concubines.”
According to Benkoul, the GPC members, who were joyful during the setback, understood the reality of their imminent defeat.
“While we understand the tremendous stress that must be plaguing them right now, we want to reassure them that it will feel much worse during the gubernatorial election,” he said.
To all PDP members, Bankole urged them to “work together under a great umbrella of assimilation as we prepare to liberate the people of Ogun State.”
The 2023 elections in Ogun State are currently taking place between the ruling APC and the main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party, reports Daily Post.
Otegbeye, also a leading candidate in the election, also confirmed that he will challenge the lower court’s ruling in the Court of Appeal.
If he pulls through, Ogun’s 2023 gubernatorial race will be fiercely contested by Dapo Abiodun, Adebutu and Amosun’s Otegbeye.
Ogun Polls 2023: Court restarts the two-horse race, with hope fading for the ADC