Adegbola imposed by Bode George, never elected PDP chairman
–Doherty Embattled Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in Lagos State, Dr Adedeji Doherty, tells TOBI AWORINDE that the Lagos High Court ruling did not unseat him nor give his rival, Dr Dominic Adegbola, substantive powers
How did you feel after hearing the June 22 court judgment? It is quite funny that a learned doctor of some sort will ever think that a judgment was given out to make him a substantive chairman. It is very unbelievable, really because if you read the judgment of justice Oyekan Abdullahi, you will see that what she said in her enrolment order is that the state executive should go back to do the proper thing. you cannot take what has not been given to you. Dominic Adegbola never asked, in his lawsuit, to be acclaimed as chairman. So, why would she (the judge) say they should make Dominic chairman? Nothing like that shows in the judgment.
I remember (the suit by) Dominic and three others was against the National Working Committee of our party and then the members of the congress committee. I was never a party to the suit. The lagos State chapter of the PDP was never a party to the suit, and at the end of the day, the judgment creditor was those that took the party to court and the judgment debtor was the NWC. How can you ever think that the state chairman has to leave the position because Dominic has been installed or maybe I have been sacked? No, I haven’t! Apart from that, you have 90 days to appeal, and during that 90 days, you cannot even execute the judgment until after the 90 days. That is the law. Even Justice Abdullahi cannot change that.
Has any action been taken to appeal the judgment?
About a week or two after the judgment, the NWC filed an appeal and all the people have been served. And the thing is that once an appeal is filed, then you cannot execute a judgment. That means the judgment has an automatic stay because the sheriff and the bailiff of the court, with the permission of the registrar, are the only ones that can mention it, take that judgment and execute it. They are not able to execute it right now because there is a pending appeal.
So, when people are not conversant with the law, or maybe they are ignorant or desperate, then they fall foul of the law. She has already written there that she is advising the NWC to go and do the proper thing and the NWC believes that she has erred in her judgment by not reading and taking cognisance of all the points that they had put in the suit, for one reason or the other.
If you look at the judgment, you will see a lot of grey areas. So, I believe that the proper thing has been done. Firstly, the NWC has appealed the judgment. Secondly, because Dominic has violated the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, we that are benefactors of the congress that was held have also taken Dominic and the entire judgment to court because at the end of the day, you cannot shave the head of someone without him being there. We were not part of the court case, so if we are going to be a debtor in a court case, definitely a judge must hear from us.
We have already taken them to court and we are going to have our own day in court too because we cannot suffer for something that we don’t know anything about. For us, we follow the constitution and everything that was supposed to be done was done
according to the constitution. So, we will make our own case in court, then most likely, justice Oyekan Abdullahi will overturn her position as she had put it. Do you then regard Adegbola as a usurper? Even when there was no court case, Dominic Adegbola was already made an acting chairman. you cannot transfer yourself from an acting chairman to a substantive chairman, and Bode George allegedly cannot make you a chairman. leaders cannot come together and make you a chairman. This was the reason the party came and did what it did.
let me give you the genesis of this. Remember (Moshood) Salvador? When Salvador was the chairman, Bode George started attacking him using Dominic, to the extent that Bode George (allegedly) sent some people to go and disrupt a congregation where Salvador was. During the disruption, somebody shot (Adeniyi) Aborisade. The man died but he didn’t have any business being there. The man was sent to that occasion by somebody. The police should find out who sent Aborisade to go and disrupt that gathering. Aborisade has lost his life. The party then saw it necessary to bring (somebody) in. At that time, when they (PDP) found out that Aborisade lost his life, Salvador was sent to Ikoyi Prison. While he was in Ikoyi Prison, he decided to leave the party to go to the APC, so there was a vacuum.
Immediately that vacuum was created, Wale Hassan, who was the Deputy Chairman, stepped in. When Hassan stepped in, Bode George called a meeting at his house with some leaders and I was also present at that meeting. The meeting was not convened on the pretext that we wanted to pick a chairman or anything like that, but at the end of the day, it turned out that they were picking a chairman from his own caucus, not a substantive state chairman.
We were looking at who the chairmanship candidates were within that caucus and they picked Dominic as the person that would go and contest for the position. However, one way or another, that position was not contested. Apparently, it became an imposition. Before they got to the national level, a lot of members of the state executive had written different petitions to the national office. Those petitions were the ones that made them create the (Senator) Ben Obi Committee to come to Lagos state on a fact-finding mission.
How did the committee address the issue?
When they came to lagos state, they invited everybody, including all the Board of Trustee members, local government chairmen, senatorial candidates, House of Assembly candidates. Everybody was there, including me. We were there and all of us agreed that there wasn’t going to be any imposition anymore from lugard House (Bode George office). That was the basis of the Ben Obi committee coming back to conduct the congress. They said they did not want a situation where an imposition was going to be made as far as state chairman was concerned and that they wanted a proper election, according to the constitution of the party.
It was at that time that the letter they gave Dominic, which was for 90 days, had elapsed because they did not make a substantive chairman. It was ‘90-day acting chairman’ that the letter read. That way, you know that Dominic was never elected as chairman. He was only imposed by Chief Bode George as chairman. Chief Bode George had a few leaders with him; there were no more than 20 or 30 of us and the people that are supposed to elect a chairman are the members of the state executive committee — the non-cwc (Central Working Committee), the CWC and all the local government chairmen. And they were not present.
It has been a normal thing in the PDP for the past 20 years that nominations are just read from lugard House promouncing who the chairman would be. Now, people stood up and said no, we are not agreeing to this anymore. That is why our own election took place. Our election took place on November 13 and that election had everybody in attendance. There are 53 members of the state executive; there were 48 members there and all of them voted. I had 26 votes, the other lady had 21, and I think one or two votes were voided. That is how I emerged. I emerged through the ballot. That was why when Dominic announced himself as chairman, I didn’t bother.