•Oni, Mustapha to vacate positions
From TAIWO AMODU, Abuja
Afew weeks after former governor of Osun State and national secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola was removed from office, two other national officers of the party have lost their positions. The latest victims of the power game in the PDP are the National Vice Chairman, South-West, Engineer Segun Oni and the National Auditor, Chief Bode Mustapha.
With this development, all loyalists of former president and immediate past chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, have been removed from the national secretariat of the party. Saturday Sun source revealed that Chief Ishola Filani, Special Adviser on Mobilisation and Strategy to the party’s National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, will replace Engineer Oni. Filani hails from the same Ekiti State as the displaced Oni.
A Federal High Court in Abuja last month ordered the National Secretary of the party, Prince Oyinlola, to vacate the position. Delivering the judgment, Justice Abdul Kafarati held that the election of Oyinlola to the position was a “flagrant violation of two court orders.’’ Kafarati said that evidence existed before the court that two separate orders from a court in Lagos, dated April 27 and May 2nd 2012, stopped the conduct of the congress that made Oyinlola a South West candidate for the post.
Deputy national secretary of the party, Solomon Onwe, had since replaced Oyinlola as acting national scribe of the party. In a press statement made available to newsmen yesterday, in Abuja and signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Olisa Metuh, the party announced its decision to conduct fresh congresses in South-West to constitute a new executive in line with a court pronouncement, which had pronounced the zonal congress that produced Engineer Oni as national vice chairman and Bode Mustapha as national auditor of the party from the zone as invalid. Justice Okon Abang of a Federal High Court in Lagos had, last year, in a ruling, set aside the congress that produced Oni as national vice chairman, South-West on the grounds that it was held in violation of a subsisting order of court, directing parties to maintain status quo pending the determination of a suit instituted by the Dayo Soremi-led faction of the party in Ogun State
. In same vein, a Federal High Court in Lagos had sacked Bode Mustapha as the National Auditor of the party. Mustapha was appointed into the office at the last National Congress of the party held in Abuja on March 24 last year. In a judgment, Justice Charles Archibong, declared that Mustapha “is not a valid nominee nor could he have been validly elected for the office of the National Auditor of the PDP zoned to Ogun State, in accordance with the constitution of the party because he was not qualified as an accountant or nominated at the state congress of the party conducted by the Soremi-led harmonised executive committee.”
In his place, the court ordered the party to appoint Alhaji Fatai Adewole Adeyanju, being a qualified chartered accountant and nominated for the office at the state congress of the party in Ogun State organised by the Soremi-led executive. Metuh, in his statement, further noted that the action of the party’s National Working Committee was in line with its respect for rule of law and due process. Part of the statement by Metuh reads: “The PDP NWC premised its action to conduct a fresh zonal congress on its respect for the rule of law.
The National Working Committee of the party met on 14th February 2013 and gave careful consideration to the issues and decided that, in line with respect to the rule of law, which is a cardinal principle of the present administration, the PDP, as a law abiding party, will immediately comply with the said judgment. This is all the more so that same has not been set aside or reversed by any superior court.’’
The PDP also promised to organise a fresh South West Zonal congress which will have delegates elected at congresses conducted by or under the supervision of the Soremi-led Ogun State Executive. Also, it will accept the candidacy, for offices zoned to Ogun State, only the persons nominated at the said congresses for the said offices.’’ But while Alhaji Tukur insisted that his action was based on court pronouncement, an aide of Oni, who pleaded not to be named, thinks otherwise.
Speaking with Saturday Sun on phone, the aide wondered why the party’s national chairman was hasty in his action, if he was not acting a script, as he claimed that his boss had got a stay of execution on the said judgment. His words:’’ I believe that there are court processes. If they aren’t concluded, I wonder why they are hasty. We have appealed against the judgment and I am not aware that the appeal has been struck out. What we got is a stay of execution and I am not aware that the court has reversed itself; I am not aware that the appeal has been determined.”