2023: PDP Chairman, Ayu disowns Jimi Lawal, says no fresh primary in Ogun

The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has dissociated itself from a fresh primary election purportedly conducted by one of the party’s governorship aspirant in Ogun State, Jimi Lawal.

This was contained in a disclaimer sent to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by the PDP National Chairman, Sen. Iyorchia Ayu, on October 19.

Recall that Lawal was on Monday suspended alongside four others by the Ogun State chapter of the PDP for “organising an illegal primary.”

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.

Dissatisfied, the PDP NWC appealed the judgment, wondering how Jimi Lawal and his followers would arrogate to themselves powers of the national body of the party by writing INEC and holding the so-called primary election.

“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, 17th October 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, 10th October, 2022, and no fresh Primaries 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, 17th October, 2022, 7 days after the 14 days ordered by the Federal High Court, Abeokuta division which the party appealed against has lapsed,” Ayu said.

In a copy of the letter acknowledged by the office of the INEC National Chairman on October 20, Ayu 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 (NEC) 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 the Independent National Electoral Commission (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.”

In the letter co-signed by Ayu and the National Secretary of the party, Samuel Anyanwu, the party called the attention of the electoral umpire to the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, saying, “The Act provides 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.”

Ayu said: “We are by this letter, notifying the commission of this illegality and to further inform the Commission that the National Working Committee is dissociating itself from the said fresh primary election conducted by persons other than the National Working Committee. We do not recognize 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.”

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