The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP on Saturday conducted a congress to elect new executives to run the party’s affairs for the next four years in Ogun State despite a court order banning the exercise.
The congress took place at Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta under the watchful eyes of national officials from the party, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as well as security operatives.
Delegates were drawn from all the 20 local government areas of the state, who were screened before the congress started at about 1.10pm.
The chairman, electoral committee, Eddy Olafeso, in his welcome speech said the congress was designed “to show transparency and fair conduct.”
He said the election was with the approval of the party national leadership, adding that the delegates’ list had been verified as authentic before the exercise.
He said all documentation for the exercise were vetted by INEC and the authentic delegate list was duly submitted.
Other members of the electoral panel assigned by the party’s national leadership who were at the venue to monitor the proceedings included Forence Adeyemi (Secretary), Zakare Ayonoto (member), Oyebade Ojomo (member) and Adedokun Adeola(member).
A Magistrate Court, sitting in Abeokuta, last Wednesday had restrained the caretaker committee of the PDP in the state from holding the state’s congress.
The Bayo Dayo-led faction of the state exco of the party, said to be loyalists of Buruji Kashamu, a federal lawmaker, had approached the court to stop the committee led by Tunde Odanye, from conducting any congress in the state.
The faction in its defence claimed it remained the authentic state executive of the party in the state.
Two members of the caretaker committee were subsequently arrested and arraigned for contempt of court by the police two weeks ago.
The judge, Idowu Olayinka, in her ruling on the case declined the request by the prosecuting counsel for the revocation of bail granted the two.
She also restrained members of the “committee from holding any meeting and congress in any part of Ogun State.”
Mr. Olayinka said efforts must be geared towards maintaining law and order in the state while also ordering the embattled executive members and the caretaker committee of the party to restrain from engaging in any physical confrontation likely to breach peace in the state .
The magistrate also ordered the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 2, officer in charge of Zonal Intervention Squad, the Commissioner of Police, Ogun State command, Department of State Security (DSS) and heads of police formations in the state, “to arrest, investigate and prosecute any member of the caretaker committee, found in violation of the order.”
The judge ordered the prosecution and defence team to “impress it on their clients, and witnesses, the consequences of disobedience to the order.”
He adjourned the case till November 21, 2017, for hearing of preliminary objection.
However, in a tactical approach, the national headquarters of the PDP dissolved the caretaker committee.
It also restrained them from conducting the congress while taking over the conduct of the congress using national officers on Saturday.