Following an order of the Federal High Court, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State restraining the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from preventing the Chief Makanjuola Ogundipe-led South West Zonal Executive Committee and other delegates from the zone to the December 9 National Convention of the party, an appeal has been made to the national leadership of the party to obey the Rule of Law and avoid any act that could contaminate the convention.

In a statement issued on Thursday in Abuja by the Vice-Chairman of the party in the South West, Chief Makanjuola Ogundipe, he urged the National Caretaker Committee (NCC) of the party to “uphold the Rule of Law as a product of the Law”.

He spoke against the backdrop of the 18th October, 2017 court order which restrained the PDP, the Chairman and Secretary of the NCC from preventing Makanjuola and other leaders of the party from the South West zone from attending the National Convention, just as it barred the party, its officers and organs from allowing the Eddy Olafeso-led group from participating in the convention or submitting any list as South West delegates.

Specifically, the court ruled that, “An order of interim injunction is hereby granted restraining the 2nd to 4thDefendants by themselves, their agents, servants and privies from preventing the Plaintiffs and other South West delegates to the PDP National Convention listed in the schedule attached to this originating summons including Alhaji Adewole Adeyanju (a former member of the PDP National Working Committee) and Senator Buruji Kashamu (a member of the National Assembly elected on the platform of the party) from participating in the PDP National Convention scheduled to hold on the 9thof December 2017 or any other date during the subsistence of tenure of office of the South West Zonal Executive Committee led by the 1st Plaintiff or taking any disciplinary step by way of expulsion, suspension, reprimand or any other disciplinary action whatsoever or howsoever described against the Plaintiffs and other delegates of the party from the South West Zone in order to prevent them from participating in the party’s National Convention pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

“An order of interim injunction is hereby granted restraining the 5th to 15th Defendants by themselves, their servants, agents and or privies from participating in the PDP National Convention scheduled to hold on the 9thof December 2017 or any other date during the subsistence of tenure of office of the South West Zonal Executive Committee led by the 1st Plaintiff as members of the South West delegates of the party pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

“An interim order is hereby granted restraining the 1st Defendant from countenancing or recognising any disciplinary action taken by the 2nd to 4th Defendants to prevent the Plaintiffs and other delegates of the party in the South West Zone including Alhaji Adewole Adeyanju (a former member of the PDP National Working Committee), Senator Buruji Kashamu (a member of the National Assembly elected on the platform of the party) and the persons listed in the schedule attached to this originating summons from participating in the PDP National Convention scheduled to hold on the 9thof December 2017 or any other date during the subsistence of tenure of office of the South West Zonal Executive Committee led by the 1st Plaintiff by any means whatsoever including by suspension and or expulsion from the party pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”

Ogundipe said the Senator Makarfi-led NCC and the national leadership of the party have a duty not to encourage impunity and lawlessness if they were desirous of building a new PDP that will appeal to Nigerians and win elections in 2019.

“I say this because Eddy Olafeso and his gang never emerged from a valid South West Zonal congress. The Federal High Court, Lagos, in a ruling delivered in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/605/2016 on the 17thof May, 2016, the court expressly nullified the sham congress. Till date, the order has neither been set aside nor upturned on appeal.

“It should be further noted that in a final judgment delivered on the 24th of June, 2016, the court categorically stated that our tenure ends in October, 2018, having been elected at a special zonal congress held on the 11th of October, 2014 in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. The implication of this is that my exco remains the only validly elected and judicially sanctioned leadership of the party in the South West.”

Ogundipe said should the party leadership act in defiance of indubitable facts and the Rule of Law, “it will contaminate the National Convention”, adding that, “Our leaders should do justice and avoid anything that can jeopardize our party’s chances in the march  towards 2019.”

He urged the party faithful and leaders in the South West to continue to work for the party and mobilize into its fold, especially now that it stands a chance to produce the National Chairman of the party.

“The position of the National Chairman has been zoned to the South and the Presidency to the North. The South has further conceded the National Chairmanship to the South West. Therefore, we cannot do otherwise. The South West should produce the National Chairman and the North should produce the President. That is what we should work towards and we are ready to do,” Ogundipe said.