As the National Judiciary Council finally laid to rest, the controversy over last year’s judgment of the Court of Appeal on Osun and Ekiti governorship elections last week, more revelations have emerged on how the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), hanged the fate of the party on the NJC panel.
There were strong indications last week that the report had created confusion and lack of confidence in the state leadership of the party, who had earlier assured their members of getting favourable recommendations from NJC that will lead to the retrial of Osun State governorship appeal.
OSUNDEFENDER findings showed that before the NJC made public the panel report, the party leaders had kept assuring their members that the current state governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, would not for long retain the mandate, with the petition pending before the NJC.
A PDP chieftain in Odo-Otin, Mr Dauda Rasak, who claimed to have dumped the party, over what he described as “deception and insincerity of their leaders” said all my hope was on the petition. Some of us were even counting days for Aregbesola, as our leaders made us to believe.
“We were assured and reassured by former Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola and other leaders that Aregbesola would be unseated, as they had evidence of telephone conversations between ACN chieftains and Justice Ayo Salami, which the Presidency and NJC would use as the basis to dismiss the appellate court’s judgment, which may therefore lead to the constitution of another panel to hear the case afresh.”
During the hearing of the petition filed by Honourable Wole Oke against Honourable Nathaniel Agunbiade, at the State High Court, Osogbo recently, a PDP chieftain was reported to have addressed the party supporters and assured them that by October this year, the Presidency and NJC must have unseated the governor.
This development, according to investigations, has pushed some members of the party, who saw the NJC report as the last resort, concluded to abandon the party.
For instance, Osun PDP Progressive Youths, a formidable group in the party, comprising of the selected ward and local government council area youth leaders, met in Osogbo last Sunday over the NJC report.
Although, the details of the communiqué issued was not released to journalists after the meeting, but sources at the meeting, said the group frowned at the “misleading information and deception” adopted by the party leaders and therefore resolved to communicate their decision to the state executives and the Presidency, while majority of them were reported to have openly denounced their party membership over the matter.
As at the time of filing this report, it was still unclear whether the party leadership had made necessary clarifications over the allegations of engaging in “deception and misleading information” by the members.
However, the state Public Relations Officer of the party, Mr Akeem Ogundeji, was reported by a newspaper (not OSUNDEFENDER) to have commended the report of the NJC panel saying: “That is what we want to establish and we are happy that we have been vindicated.”
He then expressed his dissatisfaction that the panel could not compel MTN to produce the alleged call logs of the telephone conversations.
NJC panel chaired by Justice Umar Abdulahi had, last week, cleared Court of Appeal President, Justice Isa Ayo Salami, of engaging in telephone conversations with some counsel to influence the court’s decisions in the Ekiti and Osun states’ governorship disputes.
According to the report, the panel declined to entertain petitions to review the Court of Appeal judgment, which gave Governors Rauf Aregbesola (Osun) and Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), victories in the 2007 governorship elections in their respective states.
Former Osun State Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola and his Ekiti State counterpart, Segun Oni, had written a petition to the NJC alleging Salami and some Court of Appeal judges of “unholy alliance with ACN counsel during the trial of the case.”