The National Working Committee (NWC) of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has dissociated itself from a fresh primary election purportedly conducted by one of the party’s governorship aspirants in Ogun State, Jimi Lawal.
The clarification was contained in a disclaimer sent to the Independent National Electoral Commission by the PDP National Chairman, Sen. Iyorchia Ayu, on October 19, and acknowledged by the electoral body on October 20, 2022.
Recall that Lawal was suspended Monday alongside four others by the Ogun State chapter of the PDP for organising “illegal primary.” The Secretary of the PDP in Ogun, Sunday Solarin, announced the suspension at a press conference in Abeokuta, the state capital.
An Abeokuta Federal High Court had on September 27 nullified all the primary elections earlier held by the PDP, asking the party to organise another primary within 14 days. However, the PDP NWC had appealed the judgment.
The NWC was thereby shocked that Lawal and his followers would bypass the national body of the party to write INEC and conduct such primary.
Ayu wrote, “We write to draw the attention of the Commission to a purported primary election conducted by some persons claiming to be State Executive Members of our party, allegedly held on Monday, October 17, 2022, in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
“This is coming days after the 14 days ordered by the Federal High Court for the party to conduct a fresh primary election.
“The 14 days ordered by the Federal High Court, Abeokuta division, within which the party was to conduct a fresh primary election lapsed on Tuesday, October 10, 2022, and no fresh primary was conducted in Ogun State, the party having resolved to go on appeal and rightly so.
“This, being our position, we were surprised to read both on print media and online media that some persons claiming to be part of a faction of the party conducted a fresh primary on behalf of the party on Monday, October 17, 2022, seven days after the 14 days ordered by the Federal High Court, Abeokuta division, which the party appealed against has lapsed.”
Citing the party’s guidelines, Ayu, in a statement co-signed by him and the National Secretary of the PDP, Samuel Anyanwu, said: “Section 50 of the Constitution of the Peoples Democratic Party (as amended in 2017) empowers the National Working Committee acting on behalf of the National Executive Committee to formulate guidelines and regulations for the nomination of candidates for election into public offices at all levels and shall be the final authority for resolving all disputes relating to the choice of candidates for the party for any election and for conveying to INEC or any other authority to whom it may concern, confirming the names or list of names of candidates of the party in any elective office in the federation. This section enjoys a plethora of judicial backings.”
Ayu stated that the Act provided that all correspondences between the Commission and political parties must be signed by the National Chairman and National Secretary of the party and not state executives.
“We are, by this letter, notifying the commission of this illegality and to further inform the Commission that the NWC is dissociating itself from the said fresh primary election conducted by persons other than the NWC. We do not recognise these persons involved in this illegality.
“In view of the foregoing, the Commission is advised to refrain from accepting any letters or correspondences written on behalf of the party by any State Executive of Ogun State and should be circumspect in its dealings with these persons in the future,” the statement warned.