- Lagos PDP ratifies suspension of chairman, deputy
- Two APC LGAs endorse ex-Gov Goje’s expulsion
- Apapa allegedly withdraws Obi’s case, others at tribunals
BY BENEDICT NWACHUKWU AND MAYOWA SAMUEL
The intra-party crisis rocking the three major political parties after the conclusion of the 2023 elections are far from over as fresh crises struck the People’s Democratic Party, the All Progressives Congress and the Labour Party, on Tuesday.
The Lagos State chapter of the PDP has ratified the suspension of its Chairman, Philip Aivoji and his deputy, Tai Benedict, pending the outcome of court cases.
Aivoji and Benedict were suspended respectively by their ward executives on April 14 over alleged gross violation of the party’s Constitution.
The party’s Publicity Secretary in Lagos State, Hakeem Amode, stated on Tuesday in Lagos that the State Working Committee reached the resolution after appraising the outcome of 2023 general elections.
He stated that at a meeting held on Tuesday, the committee deliberated on saving the soul of the main opposition party in the state.
He added that the committee consequently confirmed Lagos PDP Vice Chairman (West Senatorial District), Sunday Olaifa, as acting chairman, pending the outcome of court cases.
He also stated that the committee settled for Olaifa being the Vice Chairman from the suspended chairman’s senatorial district.
Amode stated that the committee also constituted a seven-man disciplinary committee to look into all matters affecting the suspended officials.
Members of the disciplinary committee are Abayomi Kuye (Chairman), Mrs. Esther Egbi (Secretary), Isiaka Shodiya, Princess M.A Coker, Mrs. Kayode Ariwayo, Femi Oluokun and Segun Oriyomi.
Amode added that the post-election disciplinary committee was expected to revert to the State Working Committee one week from the date of its constitution.
Members of the State Working Committee at the meeting were Olaifa, Agboola Akinpelu (Youth Leader), Ismail Olatunji (State Auditor) and Adio Salami (State Organizing Secretary) and Amode.
“The five members in attendance constitute the majority of the nine members in the State Working Committee out of the original 14 members that can take the decision.
“Three of the original 14 members had decamped to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), thereby reducing the membership of the State Working Committee to 11.
“The embattled chairman and his deputy were part of the 11 remaining members and since they can’t adjudicate in their own case, only nine members were left to take decisions,” Amode said.
Some Lagos State PDP leaders were alleged to have abandoned the party’s governorship candidate, Abdul-Azeez Adediran, on the eve of the March 18 gubernatorial election to support either the Labour Party or the ruling APC.
The development was believed to have contributed to Adediran coming a distant third behind the winner, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the APC and the first runner up, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the LP.
Crisis is also rocking PDP at the national level with the suspension of its national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, shortly after the February 25 and March 18 general elections.
Two APC LGAs endorse ex-Gov Goje’s expulsion
In the APC, officials in Akko and Yalmatu Deba, Gombe State, have endorsed the decision of Kashere ward executives expelling ex-Governor Danjuma Goje, from the party over anti-party activities.
Goje was recently expelled by Abdullahi Tanimu, Chairman of Kashere ward; after failing to appear before a constituted five-man committee within the two weeks’ timeframe.
Akko and Yamaltu Deba LGAs are within the Gombe Central district which Goje represents in the National Assembly.
Ratifying the decision of Kashere ward, Secretary of Yalmatu Deba APC, Birma Haruna, said it was sequel to a meeting led by its chairman, Ali Ismaila, adding that the party would not tolerate any act capable of subverting the interest of the ruling party.
Haruna disclosed that Goje’s anti-party activities were obvious to residents of the state, stressing that Kashere ward’s officials were in order.
According to him, “We Yamaltu Deba executives of All Progressives Congress decided to endorse what they (Kashere ward officials) had done. We also hope that the state chapter will endorse what we have said now.”
While ratifying the suspension of Lugbo ward officials, which suspended the member representing Yamaltu Deba, Yunusa Abubakar from the party, Haruna added, “We are endorsing Honourable Yunusa Abubakar’s suspension from APC, as done by ward Executives in Lugbo.”
On his part, Legal Adviser of APC in Yamaltu Deba, Barrister Abdullahi Waziri, said the expulsion was the best option following the failure of Goje to honour the five-man committee’s invitation.
“The party was left with no option but to take drastic measures even in his absence, we believe what they have done is what was expected of them by the party,” Waziri said.
Reacting to why the party expelled Goje despite alleged exparte order, he obtained from the court, “We heard about the action taken by the Senator that he has already taken the matter to court and that he has already filed an ex parte. Exparte is an action taken without putting the other person on notice, we are just hearing it because we have not been served to appear and defend ourselves,” Waziri added.
In a similar development, Akko APC officials led by its Chairman, Usman Ahmed, and Secretary, Aliyu Audu, also endorsed the decision of Kashere ward expelling Goje.
According to Ahmed, “Our Senator, Muhammad Danjuma Goje, has done a lot of anti-party activities. He was called three times to come and defend himself over the allegations but he refused to turn up.
“What we are saying is that Senator Goje is not a member of the APC and a member who is disloyal or indulged in anti-party activities will face the same consequences,” he added.
Apapa allegedly withdraws Obi’s case, others at tribunals
Another major post-election crack has hit the Labour Party as the party’s Deputy National Chairman, Lamidi Apapa, has allegedly approached all the election Tribunals and Courts where the party has pending petitions and electoral matters, including that of its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, asking for the withdrawal of the cases.
LP acting National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh, who made the revelation, said the party has informed all judiciary including Tribunals and Courts to ignore the antics of those he described as “compromised suspended members of the party.”
He added that “We are also calling on the Police, DSS and EFCC to arrest these enemies of democracy.”
The party stated that its national executive committee nominated Obiora Ifoh as its acting National Publicity Secretary in line with the party’s Constitution as the position was vacant after the expulsion of the former occupant.
Accusing the Apapa-led breakaway faction of acting the script of other political parties, the LP said, “Daily, the evil intention of the breakaway faction of the Labour Party, led by the suspended Deputy National Chairman, Lamidi Apapa, continues to manifest and just this morning, our legal team was confronted by the stark revelation that these men have advanced their plot by approaching all the tribunals where our numerous candidates lodged their election petitions arising from the recently held general election.
“Alongside Lamidi Apapa on the plot to frustrate Labour Party’s destined victory in the tribunals and also to derail the fledgling democracy are some of the suspended members including the Samuel Akingbade, Gbenga Daramola, Anselem Eragbe and Abayomi Arabambi, erstwhile National Legal Adviser, National Financial Secretary, National Youth Leader and National Publicity Secretary respectively amongst others.”
The LP recalled that the party’s leadership has been swimming through the murky waters of conspiracy, treachery and sabotage orchestrated by these former officers of the party saying, “We had long suspected that moles were planted to sabotage the efforts of the party to offer Nigerians an alternative to the wicked and clueless governance in place today, but the desperation to satisfy their pay master are beginning to threaten our common peace and of course our democracy.”
Ifoh said “The Labour Party condemned the actions of the suspended deputy national chairman and his co-travellers, noting that approaching the tribunals to withdraw all the cases lodged by its candidates across board is the height of subterfuge and treachery, and Nigerians will resist this ploy to plunge the nation into unnecessary turmoil.
“Their actions show that they are working against the party and that they are working to destroy the party. If they claim that they have a problem with the national leadership of the party, will they also claim that they have a problem with the candidates of the party? What offence has the candidates of the party committed that they are now moving around to withdraw their matters from the tribunal.”
The leadership of the LP, therefore, called on the tribunals to disregard any letter emanating from its suspended National Legal Adviser, Samuel Akingbade to the effect that all its cases are to be withdrawn.
“We are also calling on the presidential election tribunal to disregard such letters from these ex officials of our party asking for the withdrawal of HE Peter Obi’s petition. We also call on the Police, DSS and EFCC to quickly apprehend and question these agents of destruction before they succeed in igniting the nation.
The party, clarifying more on the appointment of Ifoh as its acting National Publicity Secretary, said, “Shortly after the general election, the party had written to all the relevant bodies including the INEC of its intention to hold its NEC in line with the provision of the law. It also informed the DSS and Police of that intention.
“All stakeholders including the state chairmen and their secretaries, Zonal officers, owners and trustees of the party including NLC and TUC, some elected members of the party as well as the leader and presidential candidate of the party amongst others met in Asaba on April 18, where he was elected as the National Publicity Secretary due to the vacancy that occurred after the expulsion of the former National Publicity Secretary in line with the powers conferred on it.”
Ex-presidential candidate asks Appeal Court to stop Tinubu’s swearing-in
In another development, a former presidential candidate of the defunct Hope Democratic Party, Ambrose Owuru, has urged the Court of Appeal to halt Bola Tinubu’s inauguration as Nigeria’s president on 29 May.
The fresh suit added to a string of suits that have been filed to challenge Tinubu’s victory in the February presidential election.
But unlike Owuru’s suit, the rest of the legal actions instituted after the 25 February presidential election were filed at the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja.
Already, there are five petitions by some political parties and their presidential candidates challenging Tinubu’s victory at the election petition court situated at the Court of Appeal in Abuja.
Tinubu had contested and won the election as the candidate of the APC, according to the results declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Key petitioners seeking to overturn Tinubu’s victory include the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar and the Labour Party’s Peter Obi who came second and third respectively at the polls.
In the fresh suit marked: CA/CV/259/2023, the plaintiff, Owuru, is seeking an order of the Court of Appeal barring Tinubu’s inauguration as Nigeria’s next president on 29 May.
He sued President Muhammadu Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation, and INEC.
Owuru, a lawyer, vied for Nigeria’s presidency in 2019 on the platform of the HDP and lost to incumbent President Buhari.
However, Owuru has falsely insisted that he won the 2019 presidential election, contrary to court findings.
The plaintiff based his suit on unusual grounds that he is the constitutionally adjudged winner of the presidential 2019 poll and has not served his four-year term as statutorily required.
He contended that Tinubu or anyone else cannot be sworn in as president until he serves his term as Nigeria’s president.
According to Owuru, Buhari has been illegally occupying the office of president since 2019 on the basis that the Supreme Court was yet to decide his petition filed in 2019 challenging Buhari’s victory.
In his application, Owuru prayed the Court of Appeal for “an order of prohibitory injunction compelling Buhari, AGF and INEC, their servants…from any further undertaking or engaging in any act of usurpation of adjudged acquired constitutional rights and mandate as the winner of the 2019 presidential election.”
Similarly, the plaintiff asked for “an order directing and placing on notice any form of handover, inauguration, organized and superintended by Buhari on 29 May 2023 outside the adjudged winner of the 2019 presidential election.”
Owuru begged the court to order an “interim placeholder” administration pending the hearing and determination of his substantive appeal on the constitutional interpretation of the suit.
The suit filed by Owuru’s lawyer, Odion Peter, prayed to the Court of Appeal for a speedy hearing and determination of the case before Tinubu’s inauguration.
In an affidavit deposed to by Adebayo Anafowode, a lawyer, the deponent expressed concerns over any delay in determining the suit before 29 May as its purpose would have been defeated.
“That the applicant (Mr Owuru) is the adjudged 1st in time constitutional winner of the February 16, 2019, presidential election reserves the right of first refusal over any later presidential election returns in the face of usurpation of adjudged acquired constitutional rights,” a paragraph of the affidavit read.
No date has been slated for the hearing of the case.