Despite the fact that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not publish his name in the latest list of candidates for the 2019 governorship elections, Hon. Oladipupo Adebutu, the factional governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State, has vowed to continue his campaign until the Supreme Court decides.
Adebutu’s name was submitted by the party as the governorship candidate but INEC substituted him with Adeleke Shittu whose faction, led by Buruji Kashamu, obtained a court ruling in Shittu’s favour.
But Adebutu, while featuring on Southwest Political Circuit, an interview programme on Ibadan-based radio, Fresh FM on Saturday, explained that he was not even aware of Kashamu’s case as he was not joined in the suit.
He alleged that Kashamu and his factional supporters were agents of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who were being used to destabilize the PDP. He said they would soon return to APC officially when the crisis is over.
Adebutu, who is currently a member of the House of Representatives, said the PDP has learnt from the experience of the last Ondo State governorship election that the major aim of the governing APC was to destabilize the PDP so that it will be unable to run a successful campaign before the election. For him and his team, he said they would continue with their campaign until the court takes a final decision on the case which he described as INEC’s trick to disadvantage the opposition.
“Having learnt from past similar experience in the last Ondo State governorship election, we are campaigning in spite of INEC’s trick,” he said. “We will not be disadvantaged. We know Kashamu and his camp will go to the party they belong after this crisis. We can have double campaign for PDP.”
Adebutu urged his supporters and the entire people of Ogun State to continue to sustain their faith in the Nigerian judiciary and be law abiding, stressing that his mandate would be restored in the end.
He vowed to fight the legal battle up to the Supreme Court if necessary, assuring that he would smile in the end.
The lawmaker insisted that INEC was wrong to have recognized Shittu as the party’s candidate via a court ruling when his name was submitted by the party as stipulated in the Electoral Act.
His words: “There is only one PDP in Nigeria and the party run its affairs according to the law of the land and its constitution. The party has conducted the primary and I won. The Electoral Act says those that did not participate in the primary can’t be candidates. I was affirmed because I was unopposed. Yet we have renegades. They never bought nomination forms. Instead they sat in their houses and printed their own forms, created a counter party. They never submitted themselves to be cleared by the election committee. But they sat down somewhere and claimed that they had their own forms, had their primaries, went to court and got a court order.
“Part of the law states that you shall not receive nomination from any individual except from the party in which the National Chairman and Secretary will sign.
“So, anything other than the names submitted by the party is unacceptable. Courts cannot create candidates for us.”
He stated that over the years, the Electoral Act has improved the electoral process but that some “renegades ambush the process”, using loopholes in the act.