THE disciplinary committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has written to former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and four other suspended chieftains of the party to appear before it next Wednesday, listing specific charges against them and the sections of the party constitution they allegedly violated.
In a statement signed by its secretary, Chief Solomon Onwe, the committee said it had also written to Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, Dr Sam Sam Jaja and Ambassador Ibrahim Kazaure, advising that “the affected persons may wish to present their cases orally or in writing, either in person or through a counsel of their choice.”
Responding, however, Oyinlola vowed never to honour the invitation, positing that the committee was illegal.
According to the committee, among the specific charges included: “that, on August 31, 2013 at the special national convention of the party held at the Eagle Square, Abuja, the above mentioned persons and others staged a walk-out in a manner contrary to Section 58 (1)(b)(g) and (h) of the party’s constitution.”
Other charges included “that on September 2, 2013, Alhaji Baraje, Dr Jaja and Prince Oyinlola filed suit number ID/704/2013 against the legitimate party leadership at the High Court of Lagos State, without first pursuing the internal remedies of the party, contrary to Section 58(1)(l) of its constitution.
“Since August 31, 2013, the persons mentioned above have granted interviews and made statements in the print and electronic media, not only disparaging the national chairman and other national leaders of the party, but also unduly publicising disputes/differences within the party, which contravenes Section 58(1)(i) of the constitution.”
The committee also alleged that “on September 1 and 23, 2013, Prince Oyinlola wrote two letters to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), requesting the commission to recognise the persons mentioned above as the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, even in the face of the national convention held on March 24, 2012 and August 31, 2013.”
Alleging that the above contravened Section 58(1)(b)(h)(i) and (j) of the constitution of the party, the committee also affirmed that “from August 31, 2013, the above mentioned persons have consistently maintained that they are of the New PDP (nPDP), thereby promoting factionalisation of the party, and in doing so, recruiting to their ranks, members of the party in the National Assembly, contrary to Section 58(1)(b)(i) and (j) of the constitution.”
The committee said “in keeping with Section 57(4) of the PDP constitution, the national disciplinary committee has since informed the affected persons of the allegations,” adding that “they are invited to present their own side of the issues before the committee.”
Oyinlola, reacting in a statement signed by his principal secretary, Femi Adelegan, said he was conscious of the provisions of the PDP constitution, “which states without any equivocation that nominations to membership of the disciplinary committee at the national level shall be ratified by the National Executive Council (NEC) of the PDP.”
He said as a law abiding member of the party, he was not aware of the composition of any disciplinary panel that was not ratified or known to the NEC of the party.
“Oyinlola has not received any correspondence from any quarters and would not honour any invitation from any illegal body, since that would amount to violating the constitution of the party.
“It is important to stress that the first meeting of NEC of PDP, statutorily expected to be a quarterly affair, deliberated on the composition of NEC, but never agreed on its membership at the meeting.
“I am also sure that the second NEC meeting, out of the seven meetings that ought to have been held statutorily by the present NWC, did not also agree on the membership of any disciplinary committee.
“It is rather funny, illogical and antithetical to democratic conducts, for the NWC, that has consistently denigrated the judiciary, the constitution of the PDP, and even the extant grund norm of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to be talking about discipline and internal party democracy, when it has continued to show disregard for the rule of law, and fundamental human rights.
“I wish to re-assert that I will never compromise illegalities and destructive tendencies that border on the culture of impunity, tyranny and oppression, which could also be interpreted as the hallmark of dictatorship.
“This is, indeed, the time for introspection and protection of the PDP from descent into anarchy.
“If these people truly mean well, they would have taken the pains to examine the causes and effects of occurrences that are fragmenting the PDP, instead of further adopting measures designed to put the party into disrepute,” he stated.