Honourable Oladipupo Adebutu, representing Ikenne/ Sagamu/Remo North Federal Constituency, is the chairman, House committee on Rural Development. In this interaction with journalists, he sheds light on the wrangling in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), attempt by some individuals to hijack the party structure, among others. WOLE EFUNNUGA brings the excerpts:
How would you describe the recent botched convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Port Harcourt?
I will describe the scenario as one with the unseen hands of the third columnists. I wish to state that the disruptions of the National Convention of our party in May and August 2016 respectively were as a result of certain desperate party members of Ogun State extraction who desired to lord it over everyone through the manipulation of judicial process and other institutions. I appeal to all fellow party members and our supporters to remain resolute and stand united as we relentlessly pursue justice, fairness and equity. In the end, the PDP, Ogun State and Nigeria will be better for it if we all do that which is noble, honourable, reasonable and patriotic. I cannot but mention the dastardly physical assault on my person during the just-concluded convention in Port-Harcourt. It is interesting to note that as a ranking member of the National Assembly (NASS) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who had the privilege to serve for the first time in the Third NASS, and now presently serving in the Eighth NASS was attacked by a Senator. I wish to use this forum to rededicate myself to the challenges, struggles and victories ahead. My supporters and I will continue to remain firm and unflinching in our loyalty and support for the national leadership of the Party under His Excellency, Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party; the Ogun State Executive Committee of the PDP under the leadership of Honourable Sikirulai Ogundele, and all party institutions, organs and leadership at the national, state and other levels. I remain firmly committed to the ideals and visions of the founding fathers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and Ogun State in particular.
Your party has been going through difficult times since the loss of the 2015 general election without any solution in sight. Why is this so?
This is due largely to factors within the Party on the one hand, as well as needless and desperate orchestration and manipulation of internal frictions within the PDP by the ruling party, and also the active connivance and complicity by certain overzealous Judges of
the Federal High Court and some officious police officers.
Could you shed light on this?
The crisis in the national body of the PDP has a lot to do with the mismanagement of internal crisis in the Ogun State Chapter and needless introduction of ‘Judicial Politicking’ to outsmart fellow party members in Ogun State by a self-styled politician, now a Senator from Ogun State. This process resulted in judicial bondage of the party. The Senator joined PDP in the year 2010 on the pretext of humanitarian assistance, through a foundation. He would routinely tell party members that he was not interested in contesting any elective position; not even the post of councillorship, as (according to him), he had no paper qualification to contest election. Dissatisfied political actors and leaders in Ogun State PDP were coerced to embrace him and the rest is history. The party broke into three or four political parties, namely: Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN), PDP, Labour Party and some defected to ACN and others. This disintegration gave the Senator the latitude to hijack the party (PDP) structure in the State by appointing his puppets into the Executive committee, thus making it impossible for true reconciliation even after dissatisfied members were prevailed upon to return to the party (PDP). Subsequently, party nominations became highly ‘commercialised’ by the
Your party has a chain of cases at various courts. How healthy is this for the party that is supposed to be a vibrant opposition?
Yes, that is true but one also keeps wondering why almost all cases involving Ogun State PDP that were filed by the law firm working exclusively for the Senator are done in Lagos (and sometimes Abuja) and always assigned to particular judges despite the fact that the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court have held (times without number) that Federal High Court has no jurisdiction in political matters; and despite the fact there is a Federal High Court in Abeokuta (assuming Federal High Court has jurisdiction). Even in the Abia case, decided few days ago, the Court of Appeal reiterated the fact that the Federal High Court lacks jurisdiction. It needs to be pointed out that, most times, (if not all the times), the controversial rulings and judgments of these questionable Judges are upturned on appeal (if the adverse party demonstrates enough courage- if exigencies of times permits, to test the ruling or judgment on appeal.
The recent Abia case is a classic example. The Court of Appeal in Ibadan had also reversed the removal of former national secretary of the PDP, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who was removed in a controversial ruling procured by the maverick Senator.
However, Prince Oyinlola has since moved on.
Can’t the party find a way of resolving most of these issues out of court?
No matter the dialogue you have with people, there can’t be amicable solution when people have all manner of injunctions in their pockets, they become impossible to talk to. When there is a compelling order that cannot be
wished away by goodwill, you have no option that to let the process go through. That is part of what we are managing. The truth of the matter is that we are now going through this but I can assure you that after one year, we will be better for it. Power is power. It is not easily given. That is the reality of it.
Is the status quo going to remain like this for the next one year when elections into Edo and Ondo States would have been conducted?
As true democrats, we remain committed to the task of democracy which thrives on effective and efficient opposition politicking. We have been at the receiving end of injustice perpetrated by some powers that
- While we remain resolute, we wish to state emphatically that we’ll do all reasonably possible to pursue and continue to pursue justice and rule of law in Nigeria no matter the inconvenience of doing so. We seek to provide the people of Ogun State with
credible alternatives. We aspire to instill confidence in governance and alleviate the sufferings of the good people of Ogun State. We undertake to continue in hot pursuit of fairness, justice, rule of law and enthronement of democratic values.
What does Ladi Adebutu want in politics, considering his background and the comfort zone where he comes from?
That is a very good question that people had asked me times without number. The truth is that if good people run away from politics, bad people will take over the governance of the nation and the consequences will be disastrous. Some are into politics to amass wealth, some are there because they do not have any other job while some are there to bring joy and happiness to the
people. My mission in politics is to bring smiles to the faces of my people.