By Musa Adamu with agency report
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) crisis in Ogun State has assumed a new dimension following the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to recognize the factional congress conducted by a faction of the party in the state led by Buruji Kashamu.
The Hon. Ladi Adebutu faction is putting efforts in top gear to take absolute control of the party’s structure in Ogun State.
Since 2015, the Sen. Buruji Kashamu’s faction had been in total control of the party, with court judgement protecting its Bayo Dayo-led party executive members till May 9, 2020.
Uche Secondus-led National Working Committee had earlier suspended Kashamu from the party in 2018; but the suspension could not take effect as the former Senator sought protection from the court.
It will also be recalled that Kashamu succeeded in becoming the governorship candidate of the party in the state in 2019, despite the stiff resistance from the NWC.
As the party prepares for another congress, the two factions of the party renewed their rivalry as they make moves to outsmart each other.
Our correspondent reports that a heavy blow was dealt on Kashamu when the Secretary of his Bayo Dayo executive, Semiu Sodipo, led other 10 members to defect to the Adebutu camp.
The defectors also suspended their Chairman for alleged antiparty activities, warning him not to hold any congress in the state.
However, the group loyal to Kashamu insisted on holding the congresses at the ward, local government and state levels, starting from March 7.
On March 3, Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja suspended the proposed congress.
The court ordered that all parties in suit No: FHC/AB/CS/208/2020 should maintain status, pending the hearing of the application on April 2.
The NWC of the PDP had filed an originating summon challenging the power of the Dayo-led executive to conduct the 2020 state party congresses.
In defiance to the court order, the Dayo faction went ahead with the ward congress on March 7, saying the ruling that parties should maintain status quo did not bar it from holding same.
But in a dramatic twist, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ogun State stood with the decision of the court by declaring the March 7 ward congress null and void.
The Ogun State branch of INEC, in a letter dated March 10, 2020, and addressed to the commission’s National Secretary, said the March 7 PDP congress did not hold in the state.
The letter with Reference no: INEC/OG/EPM/023/IV/850, was signed by the Head of Election and Party Monitoring Department, Abayomi Onisarotu.
A copy of the letter sighted by our correspondent, reads:
“Further to the Notification Letter from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the conduct of its congresses and subsequent court order restraining concerned parties from taking any action, I write to confirm that the scheduled ward congresses for Saturday, 7th March 2020 did not hold in Ogun State, strictly complying to the said court order”.